What is Business Development and Licensing?
Business development and licensing (BD&L) in biopharma refers to assessment and execution of potential opportunities for partnerships, acquisitions, mergers, and other deal-making. Professionals in BD&L follow developments in research and development at other companies and in the general scientific community and conduct due diligence on specific opportunities. There is typically a very rigorous process of due diligence in an attempt to de-risk opportunities before a company commits to an agreement. As a result, the majority of deals that a BD&L professional works on are unlikely to ever see the light of day.
Business development parts of the organization are typically heavily fire-walled from the rest of the organization (especially in large public corporations) in order to reduce the risk of non-public material news accidentally breaking to the public or people who are not directly involved in the deal-making processes.
Licensing specifically refers to the act of partnering on a drug with in-licensing being the act of a company to purchase rights to a drug for one or multiple markets. The company which sells rights or partial rights to a market is out-licensing in this scenario. Such partnerships can be structured many different ways including complete sale of rights in specific or all markets or co-promotion deals where profits are split. Furthermore, deal terms like royalties and milestone payments can be common in these deals. BD&L professionals are key in negotiating the specific terms of these agreements.