How Alliance Professionals Deliver Value in Biopharma Commercial Alliances

Cocommercialization of biopharma products comes in many flavors, all of which have various levels of complexity to them. These alliances have a language all their own, uniting many different specialties including market access, health economics outcomes research, sales and sales operations, brand management, supply chain, and more. These groups come together in an intricate dance to get therapies to patients and maximize revenue. Our panel of seasoned alliance professionals are responsible for alliances representing a broad range of commercialized products, including some of their companies' highest revenue generating products, with global footprints and sometimes multiple partners. Our discussion will highlight key areas for delivering value to stakeholders including:


Jan Twombly, CSAP
The Rhythm of Business

Jan Twombly, Certified Strategic Alliance Professional (CSAP), is president of The Rhythm of Business, a consultancy and advisory firm with core expertise in partnering, strategic alliances, and collaboration. For more than 20 years, she has been developing and sharing thought leadership to enable more collaborative ways of working and to achieve success through partnering and alliances.

Jan is a trusted advisor to leaders in both industry and academia, helping to develop their organizations' ecosystem partnering and alliance strategies. She offers education and training services to build the mindset, skillset, and toolset needed to succeed. Her clients count on her to advise on establishing new alliances, develop alliance management process and procedures, and to step in when alliances are in trouble. Data-driven, contextual assessments of complex alliances provide deep insights that solve problems and drive measurable improvement.

Her current emphasis is on working with alliance professionals to reimagine how alliance management is implemented in an environment of increasing demand and digitizing its workflow and reporting.

Jan serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP), overseeing their editorial and content strategy. She is a frequent contributor to Strategic Alliance Quarterly, regularly speaks on collaboration and partnering, and together with Jeff Shuman, CSAP, PhD authors The Partnering Guide blog and numerous whitepapers at


Christopher Black
Executive Director & Head, Corporate Alliance Management & Integration

Chris leads Merck's Corporate Alliance Management & Integration team. His group provides enterprise-level leadership for a multi-billion-dollar portfolio of strategic alliances and collaborations, as well as managing multiple M&A integration programs.

The majority of Chris' 15 years at Merck have involved management of partnerships for co-development, co-manufacturing and/or co-commercialization of vaccines and pharmaceuticals. He has managed global, regional and local strategic alliances, Joint Ventures, Institutional Businesses and NGO partners collectively active in over 110 countries. Chris participated in the creation of two multinational biopharma companies, as well as the split-up of a European vaccines company and the spinoff of Organon.

Prior to Merck, Chris was an active-duty US Army officer. After the military, Chris joined Cintas Corporation, a business services company, where he held positions including Sales Manager, Plant Manager, Regional Director and General Manager.

Chris has been a member of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals since 2010 and has recently joined its Global Advisory Board.

Mary Jo Struttman, CA-AM, MBA
Executive Director, Alliance Management

Mary Jo Struttmann, CA-AM, MBA, is Executive Director, Alliance Management at Astellas, where she led the formalization of Astellas' Alliance Management model, including the development and implementation of processes and tools for effective Alliance Management. Mary Jo is responsible for maximizing the success of Astellas' alliances. She has established and maintained successful collaborative alliances with multiple partners including Medivation (Pfizer), which was the recipient of ASAP's 2021 Alliance Excellence Award for Long-Established Alliance, Seagen, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline and Roche. Her experiences include contract negotiations, governance design and managing global commercial, development and manufacturing alliances.

Prior to joining Astellas, Mary Jo held various leadership positions in Clinical, Sales, Marketing, Managed Care, Business Development & Alliance Management within DuPont Pharmaceuticals and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Mary Jo has a BS in Nuclear Medicine & a MBA from Haub School of Business.