Risky Business

Risky Business – The Pharmaceutical Industry Boardgame

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. Scientific and technical barriers produce a high failure rate: Only one in ten new Phase I drugs make it to the market.

It appears obvious that partnering through business development and licensing can reduce the risks. However, key employees in R&D, BD&L, finance, sales & marketing, manufacturing and other areas often have a limited appreciation of how these risks actually strike or how to reduce them.

What is Risky Business All About?

This course gives professionals from inside and outside the pharmaceutical industry a much better understanding of how the R&D and BD&L processes operate. 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!

Risky Business Details

 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 (from searching for partners to negotiations).

  • 12 to 24 participants form at least four groups, each representing the executive team of a pharmaceutical company. Larger groups can be accommodated upon request.
  • During the game, nine turns are played. The team with the highest company value in the final turn wins. Different objectives can be set.
  • 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.

Each game lasts three to five hours. 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.

Who Should Play?

Risky Business can be played by professionals from inside and outside the pharmaceutical industry who want to gain strategic insight into the financial decisions of R&D and BD&L.

The game can be played by all levels, from the executive board to operational functions.

Companies typically play Risky Business at departmental retreats, strategic planning processes, and human resource programmes, as well as global company meetings.

Outsiders to the pharmaceutical industry can also benefit from playing Risky Business. The game has been played by patient advocacy groups and patients, the press, politicians and other stakeholders in the healthcare system. The game helps all these groups better understand the complexities of bringing promising new drugs to market.

The Benefits

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.

The game is an effective way for pharmaceutical professionals to become more knowledgeable about their roles in the two core processes of their company: R&D and BD&L

For people outside the industry, Risky Business provides deep insights into the mechanics of pharmaceutical R&D, progress, risk and failure – areas that are not always fully understood.

Why a Game?

Risky Business helps managers get to know each other in critical ways. It provides a safe environment for highlighting problems, staging productive conflicts and, more importantly, learning how to resolve them to produce the best outcome for a pharmaceutical company.

Research on motivation has found that playing games is far more engaging than listening to lectures. Studies suggest that inspiring people to learn new things requires challenge, curiosity, fantasy and control. Risky Business is built on these principles.

Courses & Fees for Risky Business

There are two courses for Risky Business.