Steering pharma R&D to profitability through integrated outsourcing

Four key considerations and sourcing strategies to help pharmaceutical companies increase R&D productivity through integrated outsourcing.


Pharmaceutical companies are actively exploring new sourcing strategies to stem the continuing decline in R&D productivity. Fragmented outsourcing has not sufficiently addressed this, and leaders are moving toward an integrated sourcing model that blends control of the development pipeline with the economies of scalable outsourcing.

While many pharma companies recognize the potential value of this different outsourcing approach, few are prepared to fully exploit it. This point of view explores how Accenture can help.

It’s an understatement to say that pharma R&D organizations are under pressure to deliver differentiated products while holding spending flat. Over the last 15 years (1997-2012), R&D spend has grown five percent annually while output in terms of new molecular entities approved has dropped by approximately 22 percent. Significant change is required.

While external sourcing has become an increasingly common way to try to manage cost and boost efficiency, results typically vary across different outsourcing models. Fragmented outsourcing with multiple specialty niche providers or study-based CRO programs can be challenging.

However, integrated outsourcing allows companies to realize the benefits of outsourcing while maintaining control of the science.

Key Findings

To help companies start the transition to an integrated sourcing model, Accenture has identified four key considerations:

  1. Focus, with an end-to-end view: Pharmas should focus their development activities on a single critical outcome: a target label that can be approved by regulators and is sufficiently data-supported to achieve reimbursement in target markets.

  2. Enable through integrated technology: With the gradual introduction of new, integrated sourcing models will come complex workflows, massive amounts of data, and a pressing need for nimble execution of tasks.

  3. Standardize processes and data: One very encouraging example of collaboration and partnership is the creation of standardized processes and data formats that span R&D, including clinical, market access, regulatory, and pharmacovigilance activities.

  4. Transform internally: New integrated outsourcing models will require that pharmaceutical companies and service providers commit to major internal transformation.

Industry & topics highlighted

Life Sciences