Strive to Thrive: Realizing Value Through the Establishment of an Alliance Management Community of Excellence

For organizations of all sizes, maintaining strategic alignment across the business can be a challenge. This is especially true in a decentralized model, where alliance management groups may not even interact with one another.

To address these challenges and avoid siloed groups, alliance leaders can institute a new hybrid model that is neither a Center of Excellence nor a Community of Practice, but rather a "Community of Excellence."

The presenters will show how this model has been put in place at AstraZeneca, as well as its key features and benefits for the alliance management practice. Attendees will learn:


Aida Bendt, CA-AM
Head of Alliance Management BD & Licensing Oncology R&D

Aida is the head of alliance management in oncology R&D at AstraZeneca. Her team is responsible for a broad portfolio of global strategic Alliances, including co-development, licensing, acquisitions, externalizations, and clinical collaborations. Aida has over 25 years of experience in the biopharma industry including project & portfolio management, alliance and integration management, business development, and compliance. At Medimmune she created and led a centralized alliance management function with accountability for key strategic partnerships across therapeutic areas. She was responsible along with her team for establishing innovative alliance best practices, advanced systems, and alliance capabilities at Medimmune. Prior to that during her 13 years at Medimmune, Aida held positions of increasing responsibility while managing a variety of drug development projects and partnerships across oncology, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmunity, and other therapeutic areas. Aida has experience leading through broad organization-wide change initiatives and has extensive drug development experience across diverse therapeutic areas gained through multiple roles earlier in her career. She fosters an alliance management community of excellence within AstraZeneca, is President of the DC/Mid Atlantic Chapter of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals, and CA-AM certified.

Jason Felsch, CSAP, PhD
Head, Alliance & Integration Management

Jason's healthcare experience spans diverse modalities and therapeutic areas, in industry and academia, startups, biotech, and Big Pharma. In 2018 Jason defined, introduced, and developed the alliance & integration management function at Boston-based Alexion Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by AstraZeneca in 2021. His team provides leadership for post-deal management of Alexion's strategic partnering portfolio. Reporting into Finance and embedded within business development, his team leads cross-functional oversight of alliances, out-licensing, and post-merger integrations. They manage dozens of collaborative business relationships spanning research, development, and commercial stage franchises. Trained as a biochemist at Chicago and Harvard, his early research career included work at the Mayo Clinic and at a drug discovery startup ultimately acquired by Merck. Prior to joining Alexion, Jason led partnering at three Harvard-affiliated research institutions: Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and the Broad Institute. Outside of the office, Jason enjoys hiking, squash, and genealogy. ASAP member since 2010, Jason is a Certified Strategic Alliance Professional.

David Vallo, CA-AM
Head of Alliance Management, BioPharmaceuticals R&D

David Vallo is a seasoned project and alliance management professional with over 23 years of biotech industry experience. David is currently the Head of Alliance Management within BioPharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, where he is responsible for strategic leadership across the portfolio of AstraZeneca's BioPharmaceuticals R&D alliances. In addition, he leads the development of capabilities and processes to effectively manage external collaborations and partnerships and fosters an alliance management community of excellence within AstraZeneca. In addition to his alliance management experience, David managed projects from early research through development stages, research stage alliances as well as clinical trials (including vendors) related to a vaccine candidate through phase 2b.

Prior to joining MedImmune, David held numerous positions at other biotech companies, such as BioReliance and SRA Life Sciences, where he focused on project management and operations.

David earned his graduate degree in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University, an undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech, is PMP and CA-AM certified.