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Pharmaceutical Company Reduces Time-to-Market
AstraZeneca is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies and truly a global corporation. With a presence in over 100 countries, AstraZeneca is based in London, England, with research and development sites in Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The company has more than 67,000 employees, who mostly work in Europe. AstraZeneca totaled $29.6 billion in sales in 2007.
The pharmaceutical industry is highly competitive, with many companies racing to be the first to market with drug remedies for common ailments and diseases. It typically takes 8–12 years to bring a new drug to market. Furthermore, a drug patent lasts 20–25 years, much of which is taken up in development time. The less time a company spends developing a drug, the more years it can reap in profits before generic alternatives are made available. Every day saved in development can mean millions of dollars in profits. The key to shortening the development time of drugs lies in efficient project management.
AstraZeneca developed a project management system to allow its research facilities around the world to share research and development (R&D) information. The system is called Matrix, and it gathers and analyzes research and development information stored in a large corporate data warehouse. Approximately 5,000 researchers working at the six AstraZeneca R&D sites have access to the Matrix system. The ability to access research information is transforming how research is conducted. Researchers can collaborate on projects from different sites, tracking each other’s progress. Matrix has also eliminated wasteful duplication of effort caused by miscommunication.
AstraZeneca researchers create a high volume of project data every day. The Matrix system allows researchers and managers to track, understand, and manage that data. Top-level executives use an executive dashboard manager to view key performance indicators and keep their finger on the pulse of the business to make quick, confident decisions. The system helps the finance department get a clear picture of project costs. Managers can easily manage project scheduling, budgeting, and resource allocation. Matrix makes AstraZeneca more nimble, which is a significant achievement considering the size of the company. AstraZeneca can launch products quickly, often faster than the competition,
which lets them establish leadership in a variety of specialty areas.
AstraZeneca business manager David Scanion believes that the new MIS has improved the company’s project management, cost control, and resource usage, improving the company’s ability to compete with world-class research done in record-breaking timescales.
1. What time factors affect the product life of new drugs?
2. What benefits does the Matrix system provide to researchers at AstraZeneca?
1. How does the Matrix system improve project management at AstraZeneca?
2. What financial savings and benefits are provided to the company from the Matrix system?