Training for Change Amgen, Daiichi Sankyo, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline & Merz

By September 30, 2019April 9th, 2021LTEN Focus On Training

Training for Change Amgen, Daiichi Sankyo, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline & Merz

Change is a constant in fast-paced industries, which is why the Training for Change category in the LTEN Excellence Awards recognizes the individuals and teams that lead the initiatives. For the 5th annual awards, five people and teams were honored as finalists.

Amgen Global Learning & Performance Team

The Amgen Inter-Continental Region (“ICON”) consists of more than 20 countries. When a needs assessment showed the requirement to design curriculum, resources and innovative value-based agreements to build the capabilities of cross-functional teams, a business planning workshop was constructed with three levels of design. The outcome was a more than 12-fold increase in the number of executed value-based agreements, with the innovative approach being adopted across Amgen regions.

Lou Countryman, senior manager, strategic lead, global value & access (V&A) and account manager, learning & performance team, took the lead on the new partnership between V&A and the learning team.

With the goal set, the next step was to create learning objectives and design the curriculum, which ultimately was built for three skill levels – Foundations, Fundamentals and Fluency – across a four-day agenda.

“Contracting excellence implementation was a key goal for 2018,” said Susanne Laningham, executive director, value, access & policy, Inter-Continental Region, Amgen. “Affiliates learned how to identify, negotiate and execute successful value-based agreements through durable business planning processes.”

Daiichi Sankyo

Tara Leahy

When Daiichi Sankyo was preparing to enter the oncology/hematology marketplace, it needed a global franchise training solution to introduce the new areas, attract talent and prepare to launch three key products in the new therapeutic area. Tara Leahy, director of sales training and development for Daiichi Sankyo, worked with Axiom to develop and deploy an immersive training process, designed to emulate how clinicians are trained.

Initially, immersive, experiential training was planned for a live launch event.  Ultimately, the training was designed to accommodate Daiichi Sankyo’s long-term needs for training on additional disease states and additional products. The scalable strategy engages a cross-functional audience with active training.

“We are ecstatic about the impact on our organization from this immersive training; it’s just the beginning,” one Daiichi Sankyo vice president said. “To put the patient at the center of everything we do will really help accelerate our transformation for a successful launch and will be the right thing for the organization as we launch ourselves into oncology.”

Gilead Sciences

Andrew Nemiccolo

Having to build for a new disease state and potential drug launch offered Andrew Nemiccolo, associate director, commercial learning and development, Gilead Sciences, the opportunity to change the “way things are done.” Nemiccolo focused on a high amount of crossfunctional collaboration, and found efficiencies within a nine-person, cross-functional, international team from the United States and the United Kingdom.

Working with Red Nucleus, Nemiccolo built five initial home study eBooks in about four months, something not previously used at Gilead. The eBooks were designed to have the same look, with content specific to the commercial internal/field team and the medical affairs internal/field team. The process was streamlined with a single sign-on and through two streams of color-coded content that delineated commercial content and medical affairs content.

“The overall process was efficient and netted a savings in a time and overall cost for the global review team from learning and development commercial, business conduct, medical science and learning and development medical affairs,” said Laura Briggs, associate director at Gilead, who nominated Nemiccolo for the award.

GlaxoSmithKline SMx Team

In October 2018, the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Sales & Marketing Excellence Team led the transformation of the Respiratory Sales Team, which needed to be cross-trained on their product line in a succinct way to minimize business disruption. Headed by Jackie Roberts, the GSK Sales & Marketing Excellence Team created innovative training while driving engagement, retention and field readiness in a considerably reduced time frame.

The solution involved launching a digital learning platform, custom branded as “myELLIPTA,” as a one-stop-shop training hub that contained everything the sales professionals needed to excel in the field, customized for each learner. This platform became the single source for all respiratory training materials and was praised by learners as “the best training tool yet!”

“The platform needed to be deployed extremely fast. To ensure learners could retain what they needed, the training was designed using microlearning principles. By comparison, traditional training would have taken two times as long to complete,” said Leslie Troxell of Unboxed Technology, which worked with GSK to create the training platform. “In the end, it was a very solid business decision as the rollout was a complete success.”

Merz Neurosciences Learning & Development

The Merz North America neurosciences unit needed a new approach to training, with an onboarding program that had not been updated in seven years. Stephanie Proesel, director of training for neurosciences, took the opportunity to build a new curriculum that allowed them to compete in the crowded neurotoxin market.

The team assessed all existing materials for the neuroscience team and devised a comprehensive plan to roll out over the course of one year.

“There were parts of materials that were good but needed updating and a fresh new approach to reach our learners,” Proesel said. “We also found quite a few gaps that we had within our curriculum and looked to place the appropriate solutions into our plan. This was a first for our organization, to have training objectives and plans as a part of our overall brand plan.

“We created a buzz of a higher caliber learning opportunities and soon found that existing representatives wanted to attend our new/upgraded phase II training program,” Proesel said. “Two established reps who attended moved their rankings from the bottom third to the top half within the year.”



About LTEN

The Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network ( is the only global 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization specializing in meeting the needs of life sciences learning professionals. LTEN shares the knowledge of industry leaders, provides insight into new technologies, offers innovative solutions and communities of practice that grow careers and organizational capabilities. Founded in 1971, LTEN has grown to more than 3,200 individual members who work in pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostic companies, and industry partners who support the life sciences training departments.

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