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Innovator Spotlight | The Cost of Running a Biologics RFP Process

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

A few years ago, my wife and I needed to replace the roof of our family home, so we went through the typical process to solicit local companies.  It was a time consuming endeavour because we were doing it all manually, which meant we had to find each company through online searches or word of mouth, make an initial phone call, schedule an appointment, meet for the sales pitch, do that at least five more times and then try to distill all that information down so that we could make the best decision on who we wanted to work with.  We’ve all been there before – so tedious!  The reality is that in our personal lives nowadays we encounter technology around every corner that helps us make informed decisions about how we engage with providers – from home renovations, to mortgages, car insurance and even vacation travel. 

"...where complex procurement processes are the gatekeeper to multimillion dollar biologics programs..."

The pure and simple advantage of such technology is its ability to save time and money while helping us make the best decisions possible.  And while this can be advantageous in our personal lives for relatively simple decision making (such as roof replacement), when translated to the business environment where complex procurement processes are the gatekeeper to multi-million-dollar biologics programs, there is significant potential for measurable impact.  Take BrevisRefero’s RFP management platform for instance; our platform was built on recognizing that manual RFP processes are not only inefficient and time consuming, but also that they can lead to difficulties when trying to compare complex proposals with one another.  Where does this ‘recognition’ come from?  Well, over the course of my 20-year career I have had the benefit of working for Service Providers and Innovators in the biologics industry, so I’ve witnessed first-hand the good, bad and ugly of RFP processes over the years.  As a CMC consultant running an RFP process manually on behalf of clients, this means I would start with research, make initial contact with CDMOs, receive their pitch, do it over enough times and then normalize everything to try to give the client as best a picture as possible.  So how does BrevisRefero’s RFP management platform compare to this?  Great question…let’s dive in!

In a manual RFP process the main detractor to cost-effectiveness is the loss of time.  Whether you engage a consultant or have internal resources, people with experience are needed to run an RFP.  On average, an RFP leading to a shortlist decision can run as long as 6 months (HighTech Business Decisions Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing: Best Practices Pricing Survey 2019).  In this time there is a high degree of ‘handholding’ with the RFP process, meaning that you can expect to conservatively spend between 100-200 hours/person of management time with multiple people typically contributing.  More importantly is the on-going burn rate of an Innovator over the 6 months leading to an outsourcing decision.  If we say a CMC consultant is engaged at $150/hr to assist outsource management, and that a reasonable monthly burn rate for an Innovator is $150,000 per month, then a conservative estimated organizational burn rate of running a 6-month long RFP process can be in excess of $900,000.  This is a tremendous burden for an Innovator that is funded and needs to work towards a Service Provider decision.  Anyone who has run an RFP can attest to these timelines, and the overwhelming feeling of losing valuable time to patient during the procurement process.

Now, let’s contrast this to BrevisRefero’s online RFP management platform.  By design, many time-consuming activities of the manual RFP process are circumvented with the application (reference ‘N/A’ in the figure).  For instance, there is no need to ‘find’ Service Providers as BrevisRefero members are notified of your RFP being published.  Nor is there need to initially participate in sales calls as this level of contact is pushed after a shortlist decision being been made so that an Innovator is only spending time on their selected Service Provider candidates.  In other areas, such as RFP creation, time savings occur through question-and-answer smart wizards that log responses to technical questions and uses these to populate the RFP, significantly cutting down the time needed to generate the RFP.  The Confidentiality Agreement (CDA) process is e-automated using balanced legal terms appropriate for general sharing of early-stage information and is administered securely online, which saves time in getting to fully executed signatures.  Proposal normalization in the application is fully automated, and therefore once all proposals are received an Innovator has direct access to powerful analytical tools that provide direct comparisons of all proposals, without the need for further external normalization.  The tally of all this experience, automation and tools in the BrevisRefero platform creates significant time savings when compared to the manual process, ultimately reducing burn rate by more than an estimated $700,000 while an Innovator works towards an outsourcing decision.  Those are significant savings!  And finally, it is worth wrapping up this comparison by mentioning that we have seen first-hand these reported time savings in the live application.

"...ultimately reducing the burn rate by more than an estimated $700,000 while an Innovator works towards and outsourcing decision."

As reported in the online journal called, with the growth in biologics market inspiring outsourcing (, why not consider giving BrevisRefero’s online RFP management platform a try to help you run a concerted RFP process for your biologics development and manufacturing program?  Registration is completely free, which gives you direct access to the RFP generation wizards to see first-hand how BrevisRefero’s application can significantly reduce your RFP timelines.  And, our member support concierge service gives you direct access to biologics outsourcing experts at any time should you need assistance.   Come give Outsourcing Accelerated a try…we look forward to seeing you in the application!   Join the future of innovative outsourcing happening at




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