Pharmaceutical Industry: Restructuring of R&D processes

Comprehensive restructuring of R&D processes – skills transfer
Case study

Context and challenges

Noting an increase in R&D costs, accompanied by stagnating efficiency, a leading French pharmaceutical group decided to review its historical decisions regarding the organization of the
development process. Within the original structure, different research centers were specialized, with each handling a specific stage of the process, multiplying cycles between centers and significantly increasing complexity.
With the aim of significantly reducing timetomarket and increasing its budgetary leeway, the group decided to set up a project to streamline its product development process, which involved the closure of a research center and the reallocation of its activities to other sites. This project was extremely sensitive and involved significant risks: loss of key profiles, disruption of ongoing research, delays to projects and negative impact on the group’s image.
This all occurred against a difficult social, legal and economic backdrop in the country of the involved center.

Approach and methodology

The aim of the project was to put together, in the strictest of confidence, with the assistance of an internal team of approximately 20 people, an intervention plan, which was developed sufficiently to be actionable as soon as deemed appropriate by the executive management (synchronization with the company calendar).
Our action focused on three areas:

  • Project management: ensuring the coordination and dynamic of approximately 15 internally managed initiatives, aiming to ensure the transfer of activities and the continuity of ongoing research, as well as the consolidation of results for reporting to the group’s management
  • Synchronization of those initiatives with the action of external partners: jurists, experts on social matters and merchant bank
  • Significant operational support for the group from our teams, who took charge of the financial modelling of the project, risk control and production of the Livre IV and the definition of specific


The case was approved by the executive management. The project was operationally implemented six months later only, following the appointment of a new CEO, and was smoothly deployed.
The confidentiality of the case was ensured throughout the process.