• Vincent Aurentz
  • Bernhard Kirschbaum
  • Markus Thunecke



Merck Serono, portfolio management, business development


Comprehensive, metric-based portfolio management yields well-known benefits such as increased transparency and the potential for greater objectivity in decision-making. However, the research and development (R&D)-driven characteristics of the pharma and biotech space call for further refinement of general techniques now in use. Because of the years-long timeline for the R&D of products and treatments, and because of similar horizons for testing and for securing regulatory approval, the growth, stability, and even survival of companies in this space are especially sensitive to the quality of portfolio management. In this article, we (1) briefly describe the history of portfolio management and the uneven results of its application in the R&D-centric pharma and biotech space; (2) identify eight factors which can limit the impact and quality of portfolio management in the space; (3) document a four-step process for portfolio management that directly addresses these factors; and (4) document the results of the implementation of this process in the post-merger period at Merck Serono S.A. – Geneva.