The pharmaceutical company BeiGene has a saying: “Cancer has no borders. Neither do we.”
It’s a powerful statement that captures the groundbreaking work the company is doing to advance the state of cancer treatments—and the fact that its work spans five continents, with major operations in Australia, China, and the U.S.
BeiGene’s global approach to cancer research means patients in 34 countries are enrolled in their trials. But with this global reach comes a greater level of complexity for ensuring timely collaboration and comprehensive compliance. Understanding that by running its business better, it can get treatments to market quicker, BeiGene has worked continuously to drive efficiency across its business.
Contracts have been a central focus in this effort. The pharmaceutical industry is contract intensive, with complex and closely monitored commercial relationships on both the supplier and sales side of the business. Different countries have different regulations concerning how companies can engage with their business partners or clinical trial participants, and for BeiGene that means a plethora of compliance implications for its contracts.
As Eric Ortman, senior director of legal operations at BeiGene, explained to me recently during World Commerce & Contracting’s 2020 Vibe Summit, in the event a regulatory agency like the FDA makes a request related to a specific study and its related agreements, "you’ve got to be able to quickly run that report, and prepare the report, and share that list.”
Being a public company also raised the stakes, Ortman noted: “For purposes of SOX [Sarbanes–Oxley Act] compliance, you need to be able to quickly identify contracts based on certain criteria and to be able to demonstrate in a system that approval and signing of those contracts is in compliance with your rules.”
To address these challenges, BeiGene deployed the Icertis Contract Intelligence (ICI) platform as its global contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution. In choosing to manage all of its contracts on a single platform, BeiGene committed to a global approach to contracts that matched its broader corporate ethos.
A big reason BeiGene chose Icertis was the ICI platform’s multilingual ability to process contracts in dozens of languages, including Standard Chinese and English, helped drive true global adoption.
More importantly, BeiGene was able to leverage the unmatched flexibility of our contract management software to both comply with local jurisdictions while also pooling critical contract data centrally.
“There are some ways of doing business and also legal issues that are different, that vary between the U.S., China, Australia, Europe, and so we needed to make sure that certain workflows were designed to support the business processes that they wanted, but also that certain fields for reporting purposes and purposes of populating templates and other things, that that criteria was met,” Ortman said.
In other words, they didn't have to choose between visibility and compliance. The ICI platform empowered them to do both.
It's so satisfying to hear about legal departments leaning in and pushing the boundaries of what they can do with CLM technology—and not just in their legal department, but across all business divisions.
But it's also true that technology alone can't deliver global contract management: you need the right implementation plan in place that gets inputs and buy-in from across the company to really sell the vision of organization-wide CLM.
In my next post, I will explore how Ortman and his team put together a "think big, start smart, scale fast" plan that had stakeholders from across the company reimagining what contract management could mean for their success.
Can't wait to hear how the story ends? Stream my conversation with Eric on-demand here.