Managing a Complex Life Sciences Acquisition
Helping a small gene therapy provider navigate through being acquired by a large, multi-national pharmaceutical firm.
A large multi-national pharmaceutical firm purchased a small gene therapy firm for over $8B. Faced with the challenge of being able to effectively lead the small firm through the acquisition process and not having personnel with the requisite skillset to lead, the Director of IT brought in a consultant with significant M&A experience and success in complex program delivery to lead his firm’s acquisition integration planning and execution.
The consultant, now a strategy lead with Trexin, engaged the leadership of both parties in defining the overall integration strategy while navigating significant business challenges such as rapid resource and location growth. These challenges made the integration extremely unique as the team perceived they were “building a fleet of airplanes while they were flying.” When planning started the small target company had just over 500 employees in 3 US-based locations; after 2 years growth, over 2,500 employees were brought into scope for integration across 6 global locations. This growth presented a variety of challenges in the integration planning, communication, training and eventually the execution phases of the effort.
Cross-organizational team planning and solution activities included:
- Business infrastructure analysis and remediation across all sites
- GxP infrastructure analysis and remediation across 3 sites responsible for performing lab work in support of the gene therapy, as well as the production of the gene therapy
- Application discovery, analysis, rationalization, and disposition
- Detailed user migration wave planning with attention to specific apps each user needed
- Global hardware distribution planning
- Communication management with leadership and affected users
- Formal change management process implementation to support adjustments to the plan and gathering alignment from all stakeholders
- End-user training activities and educational documentation
As a result of effective strategic leadership and execution, the project was a success despite all of the challenges and adjustments that had to be made along the way. Full integration was accomplished and the legacy system decommissioning process had begun. In addition, processes had been defined to continue to onboard new users with minimal disruption to the business or subsequent regulatory/compliance activities.