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Risky Business – A Pharmaceutical Industry Strategy Workshop

Risky Business – A Pharmaceutical Industry Strategy Workshop

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by the Science Alliance


Join us at the Academy to play the unique board game for scientists and business professionals who are working both in and out of the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.

During the interactive and entertaining Risky Business workshop you will:

  • Increase your understanding of how  the pharmaceutical industry makes decisions on research and development 
  • Understand the future challenges that the pharmaceutical industry faces
  • Network with other professionals from both industry and academia
  • Practice your strategic thinking, negotiation, teamwork, and communication skills while playing the interactive board game with a diverse team

Selected Testimonials from Industry Scientists

“Risky Business is an engaging workshop format for strategic dimensions of the pharmaceutical industry. It is at the same time a team event, a competitive challenge and most importantly a highly relevant programme. The game provided our researchers with a hands–on experience of R&D, Business Development & Licensing as well as executive level decision making.”

“Risky Business is a great way to get a hands–on experience on strategies and risk of clinical development in the pharmaceutical industry in a very short amount of time. It is quite realistic with close reference to the actual pharmaceutical industry key figures for R&D and BD&L processes, timelines, costs, success and failure. The seminar gives insight into why drug development is often so difficult and problematic, while at the same time also giving some insights into how to confront these challenges through deal making and improved decision making. Risky Business is a fun, interactive and productive way to work on team–building and for varied groups to look at their work in a more comprehensive way.”

“The ‘Risky Business Game’ is an enjoyable simulation of drug development and marketing. Demanding skills like strategic thinking, teamwork and evaluation of business risks, it realistically mimics the portfolio management situation of the pharmaceutical industry. In a relaxed atmosphere it trains the player for process analysis and decision-making, based on real facts. It is a valuable experience that helps one understand the complex nature of processes used every day in the Pharma business.”

“Risky Business leads participants through the multifaceted process of drug development and enables them to understand it much more effectively and profoundly than any power–point presentation possibly could. It’s demanding – and fun.”

Full Description

Pharmaceutical companies make some of the biggest gambles of any industry: multi−million, even multi−billion dollar investments on a new drug. These investments can take more than a decade to play out. However, the macro-environment in which the industry operates is rapidly changing as well. While scientific and technical hurdles were traditionally the major barriers for success, increasing payor pressure has become an additional barrier not only in Europe, but also increasingly in the US. Therefore, the industry not only has to battle high attrition rates (only one in ten new Phase I drugs make it to the market), but also has to fundamentally rethink the R&D operating model and development strategies.

What is Risky Business All About?

This short course gives professionals from inside and outside the pharmaceutical industry- including students and postdocs- a much better understanding of how the R&D and BD&L processes operate and the challenges the industry faces. Participants get involved in a board game that has been developed specifically to mimic the pharmaceutical industry. The game enables players to absorb the complexities of R&D and BD&L easily and quickly!

How the Game is Played

Each participant takes on the role of a pharmaceutical executive. The game gives them the experience of a multi−year drug development process, the creation of corporate strategies, management of the R&D pipeline, and the execution of partnering strategies. During the game, seven turns are played. In each turn, teams receive funds and Phase I projects and invest in their projects or infrastructure. They can negotiate and arrange deals with other teams. Each team completes its turn by paying for R&D projects, infrastructure investments and deals, where applicable. Rolling the dice determines the success or failure of each R&D project. The team with the highest company value in the final turn wins.

The game lasts five hours and includes short presentations on topics such as .

  • How does pharma R&D really work?
  • How are R&D projects and deals evaluated?
  • What are industry benchmarks of key R&D parameters like success rates, costs and duration per development phase?
  • What does the pharma industry need to do to address the changing macro-environment with the increasing payor pressure?
  • What are the consequences for the operating model and R&D strategy?

Participants experience project successes and failures, and watch licensing deals produce value or write−offs. They therefore see the benefits and risks of going it alone vs. partnering in development, manufacturing, and marketing and sales. Risky Business is simultaneously a fun experience and a challenging team exercise, one that deepens strategic thinking and understanding across all functions and levels in pharmaceutical companies.

Lunch and coffee will be provided to participants.

Registration Pricing

Student/Postdoc Member$40
Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$70



Jan-Philipp Kruse

Manager, Catenion

Jan–Philipp Kruse joined Catenion in 2010 and works as a Manager at the company.

Jan–Philipp has worked on various strategic client engagements for several large and mid-size companies in the life sciences. His focus has been on R&D strategy, BD&L support, and market, product, and portfolio evaluation. He has supported major global pharmaceutical companies in the review and restructuring of their R&D division and operating model. As part of his BD&L support activities, Jan-Philipp has conducted numerous systematic and strategic partner and asset searches on a global scale for clients from Europe, the US and Japan. Prior to joining Catenion in May 2010, he has worked in the Management Consulting Team of IMS Health.

Jan–Philipp holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University in New York, where he studied the regulation of p53, a major tumor suppressor. His work identified two novel regulatory pathways for this crucial biological molecule central to the understanding of tumorigenesis and has been published in top tier scientific journals. Prior to his graduate studies at Columbia University, Jan–Philipp studied Biochemistry at the University of Bristol, UK, and gained industry experience during a one year internship in the Bioprocess R&D Department at Merck & Co in New Jersey, USA.


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Our Location

The New York Academy of Sciences

7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street, 40th floor
New York, NY 10007-2157

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140 Washington Street
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Phone: 212.577.1133

The New York Academy of Sciences is a member of the Club Quarters network, which offers significant savings on hotel reservations to member organizations. Located opposite Memorial Plaza on the south side of the World Trade Center, Club Quarters, World Trade Center is just a short walk to the Academy.

Use Club Quarters Reservation Password NYAS to reserve your discounted accommodations online.

Other nearby hotels

Conrad New York


Millenium Hilton


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Club Quarters, Wall Street


Eurostars Wall Street Hotel


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Wall Street Inn


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