Customer Case Study

Novo Nordisk Implements S&E Best Practices with Inova



The company

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 95 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. This heritage has given them the experience and capabilities to also help people defeat other serious chronic diseases including: haemophilia, growth disorders and obesity. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 43,200 people in 80 countries, including R&D centers in China, Denmark, India, UK and US, and markets its products in more than 170 countries.

The challenge

Novo Nordisk’s scouting activities grew and expanded in support of their decision to enter new therapeutic areas. They needed an expert partnering platform to support their efforts, providing case management, reporting and archiving. However, their existing tool was out-of-date, complex, and not user-friendly. Novo Nordisk had to choose between managing an expensive, time-consuming upgrade, creating their own partnering solution, or finding a new one on the market.

The solution

Novo Nordisk selected Inova’s partnering platform and rolled it out to their Search & Evaluation and Business Development teams. Novo Nordisk chose Inova because it is designed for partnering in the life sciences, featuring industry best practices and requiring little customization. Additionally, on-going support from an Inova Customer Success Manager means that Novo Nordisk can continually fine-tune and adapt the system to their needs.

The benefits

With Inova, Novo Nordisk is creating one central place for all their partnering interactions, from their first contact to key correspondence, reviews and documents. They also use Inova to visualize and prioritize their opportunities, deciding what should be pursued and what should be declined. By keeping all their information in one place, they’ll always know why an opportunity was declined. Monthly reports are fast to create and easy to share, improving communication and alignment.

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“Inova is built exactly for what we do, pharma partnering. It helps us work together as one company. We started with just the S&E department, then quickly scaled the solution to add more teams such as the drug delivery and digital health teams. With everything in one place, we collaborate better together”

Neil Anderson
Neil AndersonSearch & Evaluation DirectorNovo Nordisk

The Story

Novo Nordisk’s partnering strategy has undergone a recent shift. Historically, Novo Nordisk relied to a large extent on internal expertise to develop new treatments. However, when Novo Nordisk expanded into new therapeutic areas, access to external expertise and assets became a priority. In response, Novo Nordisk’s Search & Evaluation (S&E) team grew in size and became more broad in their scouting.

One system for a global team

Novo Nordisk’s S&E team is in the Global Drug Discovery (GDD) Unit. It is divided into two halves, “Headquarters Scouts”, who are based at Novo Nordisk’s headquarters and dedicated to specific therapeutic areas (TA), and “Regional Scouts,” who are based in key biopharma regions and scout for all TAs within their geography.
As a result of this organization, Headquarters Scouts are closely aligned with their TA and have a deep understanding of its management, strategy, priorities and portfolio. The Headquarters Scouts triage all incoming opportunities within their TA and do some proactive scouting, for example at BIO, JP Morgan, or key scientific conferences, but are primarily headquartered based.
The Regional Scouts, on the other hand, concentrate on specific geographic areas (USA, Asia, Europe and Boston). They’re often on the road visiting universities, companies, conferences, and more. When they find an interesting opportunity, they sync with the HQ team to get their feedback and decide how to move forward.
Having scouts dedicated both to TAs and to regions enables Novo Nordisk to not only work in close collaboration with their TA heads and scientists, but also be present in important innovation hubs. For these scouts to work seamlessly together as one team, Novo Nordisk needed a global partnering solution. They selected Inova because it is an expert partnering solution designed for the life sciences.

Inova supports Novo Nordisk’s S&E best practices

Novo Nordisk pursues S&E best practices by focusing on three key pillars:

  1. Ensuring alignment with strategy
  2. Optimizing information storage and sharing
  3. Maximizing awareness and visibility

To support these best practices, Novo Nordisk leverages Inova’s partnering platform to:

  1. Store all information on external opportunities in one place
  2. Provide up-to-date case tracking
  3. Report on their activities efficiently

One central place for their partnering information

To create one central place for all their partnering information, Novo Nordisk uses Inova features such as the BIO Connector and Outlook Addin. For example, they use the BIO Connector to track, report and share internally on conference meetings. It enables them to easily capture key discussion points and next steps, keeping everyone aligned and up-to-date. Their goal is to have everything, from the first contact through to key documents, correspondence and reviews in Inova. As a result, Inova will be their one source for accurate information on current opportunities, as well as an archive of all previous opportunities and evaluations.

“Inova’s reporting provides clear insight into our activities and performance. We use it to analyze the evolution of our projects, prioritize our efforts, and communicate on our activities with the rest of the company.”

Neil Anderson
Neil AndersonSearch & Evaluation DirectorNovo Nordisk

Up-to-date case tracking

Novo Nordisk uses Inova’s workflows to track their opportunities throughout the business development process. At Novo Nordisk, the S&E team manages early stage opportunities from the first contact all the way up through initial and in-depth scientific evaluations. These opportunities can be anything from small research collaborations to M&A. If the opportunity makes it to the next stage, it is handed off to the GDD Business Development team for confirmatory due diligence and negotiation. However, this process is flexible and depends on the opportunity and the partner.

Workflows designed for Novo Nordisk’s process

With Inova’s standardized workflows and milestones, Novo Nordisk sees at a glance the status, ongoing activities, and next steps for each opportunity. These workflows also encourage everyone on the team to follow the same process and makes handing off an opportunity from one team member to another a fluid process. Everything they need is in one place and they know exactly where they’re at in the process.

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Why our customers love Inova


Inova bridges the challenge of two externally-facing function within AstraZeneca, R&D and Business Development, and gets them operating in a seamless fashion: the right hand knows what the left hand is doing.

Helen SmithBusiness Operations Manager

We use Inova as our exclusive tool for BD&L project management and reporting, resulting in high quality data and deal flow. We enjoy working with Inova’s experts and solutions, they continue to exceed our expectations.

Cornelius KurzGlobal Project Manager BD&L

I wanted a solution for my Technology Scouting team that required minimal IT involvement. The BD and AM teams were already using Inova and happy with it. I am very glad we also chose Inova, it’s intuitive and easy-to-use.

Janet HallidayAssociate Vice President, FCT & External Technologies

Inova has enabled Lilly to standardize processes, enable more consistent data across the entire External Innovation community and place data more directly into the hands of business development leadership.

Darren CarrollSenior Vice President, Corporate Business Development
Novo Nordisk

Inova is built exactly for what we do, pharma partnering. It helps us work together as one company.

Neil AndersonSearch & Evaluation Director

Inova puts the information I need at my fingertips, helping me decide which partner is the best fit for my product portfolio.

Claudio VeronesiEuropean Distributors Business Manager

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