Biopharma companies are facing major hurdles, including compliance concerns, declining R&D productivity and the soaring costs of drug development and as a result firms are increasingly outsourcing their key enterprisewide processes such as IT, HR, finance, procurement and customer care, as well as specific functions such as manufacturing, research and clinical trials, in a bid to increase efficiencies and manage regulatory compliance.
The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) compiled The Global Outsourcing 100 as essential reference guides for companies seeking new and expanded relationships with the best companies in their industry, with four large companies with a specialist life science/pharmaceutical division featuring in the top five.
King of the list was IT giant IBM, successfully providing the biopharma industry with clinical and biotechnical research tools for drug development, as well as data management and business process outsourcing (BPO).
In third place was Accenture, who provides lifescience-focused customer relationship management (CRM), IT strategy & transformation, regulatory compliance, supply chain management and R&D IT outsourcing services.
Three years ago the firm was recruited to streamline operations and improve the effectiveness of Wyeth's R&D efforts and as a result, the productivity of Wyeth's drug discovery effort has risen 400 per cent, early clinical trial cycle times have been cut by 60 per cent, and a new high-performance model for outsourcing clinical data management is substantially reducing costs by about 50 per cent, according to Accenture.
In fourth and fifth positions, Hewlett-Packard and Capgemini are on the scene offering a similar range of services to Accenture, while Wipro, with business process re-engineering, BPO, clinical process outsourcing and various IT services, made it to number seven.
Coming in at number 11 on the "hot 100" list was HCL Technologies, an Indian company specialising in value-added IT solutions, BPO and infrastructure management services, which has recently shifted its life sciences focus to four key areas; clinical data management, medical devices, regulatory services and manufacturing engineering services.
Johnson Controls, at position 15, tailor makes building management systems, providing full-time, on-site staff and management to handle all of a building's operating and maintenance services. It also offers workplace design and consulting, move management, facility benchmarking and project management.
"Building systems at some companies are critical to achieving their corporate missions. In the pharmaceutical industry the inability to maintain the proper laboratory conditions could mean the loss of years of new drug research and development," said a company statement.
India-based Patni partners, offering procurement, production and sales IT solutions for drug manufacturers, slid into position number 20.
The IAOP said that companies were judged according to size and growth in revenue, employees, centers, and countries served, as well as customer experience, depth and breadth of competencies, investment in new technologies and management capabilities.
The list includes companies from around the world providing the full spectrum of outsourcing services - not just IT and BPO - however, companies who specialise in these particular areas of outsourcing dominate the list.