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Risky Business — The Future of Biopharmaceutical Innovation

Risky Business — The Future of Biopharmaceutical Innovation

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By


Until five years ago, the biopharmaceutical industry seemed locked into a downward spiral — patent cliffs loomed for old drugs, new drugs were scarce, and commercial successes even more so.

Now, though, the industry seems to have pulled out of a nosedive into a new Golden Age with 2014 delivering more new approvals than the previous twenty years.

A new generation of cancer drugs that channels a patient’s own immune system to advantage is dramatically improving survival rates, once fatal rare diseases such as cystic fibrosis and Duchenne’s are becoming chronic and even in established areas like diabetes a new generation of drugs promises to improve patient outcomes. The confluence of new therapeutic modalities and big data is opening even more avenues for medical advancement in the future.

Yet at a time when innovation levels are clearly increasing, payors are questioning the value of new drugs. Can the industry rely on them for the funding of future innovation? Regulators, on the other hand, are increasingly supportive of novel trial designs and unorthodox regulatory pathways. Weighing these opposing forces, what then will the future of biopharma innovation look like?

Can companies design and execute sustainable growth strategies for this emerging environment?

The Academy plays host to an exciting exploration of the challenges confronting the biopharmaceutical industry. Through a uniquely immersive and playful format, this workshop will guide you through the industry’s past, into the changing present, and invite you to ponder the possibilities that lie in the immediate and more distant future. Join us, your colleagues in industry, academia, healthcare providers, payors, and investors, to find out!


Biopharmaceutical companies make some of the biggest and most risky gambles of any industry: each new drug ultimately requires multi-billion-dollar investments. These investments take more than a decade to play out – during which time, profound changes will occur. Internal portfolios wax and wane; competitors’ innovations, regulatory & commercial frameworks reshape the playing field; some therapeutic advancements move the pitch to a new field altogether.

In such an uncertain landscape, companies are constantly rethinking their strategy, and how they can try and take advantage of technical advancements to build innovation models that are fit for the future. With the emergence of open innovation networks, what will be the role for in-house R&D?

This half-day workshop brings together professionals like you from around the Life Sciences world, and provides you a taste of how the investment decisions are taken, beating competitors to a lucrative deal, and the challenges the industry faces. Using a competitive board game that has been developed specifically to mimic the pharmaceutical industry past and present, you will take on the role of executive team of a mid-size company. As a management team, you will develop, execute, and alter your strategy in response to your own success and failures, and pounce on the missed opportunities of others. At the end, the winning team will be invited to share their strategy. Major lessons learnt and key questions for the future will be summarised and opened for discussion

*Reception to Follow 4:00–5:00 PM.

Selected Testimonials

“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.”


From Catenion, a global strategy consultancy with the largest team exclusively focused on Biopharma R&D, Christian Elze, Graham Scholefield, and Jonathan Vonnemann will take you on the journey.

They will introduce the game, provide insights as to how its mechanics mirror real life, and monitor your investment and deal making decisions.

Registration Pricing

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


Christian Elze (BSc, MBA)

Christian is a founding partner of Catenion and has been developing the company's business in Japan since 2008.

He holds a BSc from the London School of Economics and an MBA from Columbia University. He has lived and worked in a dozen countries in Europe and the Americas and is a fluent speaker of English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Besides his consulting work, Christian frequently speaks about Healthcare Reform, Pricing & Reimbursement and Biomedical Innovation at industry conferences and universities in Japan, the US and Europe.

Graham Scholefield (MRes, PhD)

Is an associate at Catenion who has taken a keen interest in the pricing and reimbursement of pharmaceuticals - how will this pressure shape future biomedical innovation?

Prior to this he undertook a PhD in biochemistry at Newcastle University, UK where he elucidated a key regulatory mechanism of DNA replication initiation, which culminated in several papers and awards.

Jonathan Vonnemann (MSc, PhD)

Prior to his position as an analyst at Catenion, Jonathan undertook at PhD in molecular science at the FU Berlin, Germany, in which he quantitatively elucidated multivalency effects of nanomaterials in biomedical applications. Besides several publications in distinguished journals, he won multiple awards for translating his science into a start-up. In work at Catenion he pursues his keen interesting in business and deep science.


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