Negotiating Partnerships in the Healthcare Industry (A): The Pharmac and Respire Deal

By Robert Chess, Lyn Denend, Sara Gaviser Leslie, Stefanos Zenios
2008 | Case No. OIT81A

This case has been developed to facilitate a negotiation exercise related to the formation of partnership deals in the healthcare industry. It is based on actual information, but reflects a hypothetical situation involving two companies and a product that have all been disguised. The scenario described within the case involves Pharmac, a large pharmaceutical company, and Respire, a small medical start-up. Pharmac and Respire began negotiating a partnership to develop and eventually market an inhaled form of parathyroid hormone (PTH) to treat osteoporosis. If successful, this product would improve the available options for the treatment of osteoporosis. It was also expected to produce “blockbuster” sales since it would make PTH, an already extremely effective treatment option, more convenient and appealing to a large segment of untreated patients who were injection-averse (injection was the standard delivery mechanism for this drug). Development of the product was highly speculative and was expected to take six to seven years due to early stage development of the inhalable delivery system and the multi-year Phase III fracture trials required for approval. Pharmac had released the first man-made, injectable form of parathyroid hormone, called Strocal, in 2002. However, no one had yet developed a non-injectable version of PTH, despite efforts by Pharmac and other companies that spanned more than a decade. Respire’s goal was to be the first company to solve this problem by developing an inhaled formulation and a device to deliver Strocal through the lungs in a safe, effective, and reproducible manner. Enough information is provided within the case to enable students to negotiate terms for royalties, milestones, exclusivity provisions, and an equity investment. At the end of OIT-81A, information known to Pharmac (but not to Respire) is provided. In OIT-81B, information known to Respire (but not to Pharmac) is given.

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