GlaxoSmithKline: Reorganizing Drug Discovery (A)

Case Solution

Robert S. Huckman, Eli Peter Strick
Harvard Business School ()

Describes the reorganization of drug discovery at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) following the founding of GSK from the merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham. This reorganization brought nearly 2,000 researchers to six Centers of Excellence in Drug Discovery (CEDD). Each CEDD focused on a small group of therapeutic areas and had decision-making power over the development of active pharmaceutical ingredients in the early stages of development. It describes the proposed structure for the CEDDs and their relationship to the remaining centralized departments within the GSK R&D organization. Addresses questions about the benefits of approach vs. Diversification in R&D, the role of decentralized versus coordinated decision-making, and the importance of aligning the structural and infrastructure aspects (eg, performance incentives) of an operating model. Using the empirical context of mergers in the pharmaceutical industry, the case allows students to gain a broader understanding of the interaction between organizational form and operational performance.

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