GSK Says R&D Productivity Up, But Story Is About Culture, Not Numbers
At its latest R&D review, GSK has culled three of its biotech-like discovery performance units and created four new ones. But less important than the numbers is the new culture, claims CEO Andrew Witty
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Drug pricing and access issues expose the pharmaceutical sector especially acutely to calls for companies to meet ethical and social goals, alongside commercial ones. Digital is up-ending pharma’s processes, its workplaces and its consumers. R&D productivity is spluttering. Amid this turmoil, CEOs highlight company culture – the way an organization behaves – as a crucial ingredient for success. But what is a “right” culture? Organizational culture is neither static nor singular. It is continuously influenced by acquisitions, markets, new technologies and new generations. And pharma’s history suggests that culture change cannot happen without sufficient people change.
GSK's various thwarted efforts to boost productivity through R&D revamps begs the question whether big pharma should be trying to do in-house discovery and early development at all.
Most of GlaxoSmithKline's early stage research organizations, discovery performance units, survive a three-year review cycle, with co-localization, monetary incentives and career support leading a change of culture.