Ovid Therapeutics is a New York-based biopharmaceutical company that’s working to transform the lives of patients with rare neurological disorders.
They’re in the final stage of a clinical trial for a drug to help those with Angelman Syndrome – a severe form of autism which affects mobility, motor skills and sleep patterns. New therapies are also in development for Fragile X Syndrome and rare forms of epilepsy which could change millions of lives around the world.
The Nasdaq-listed company has around 80 employees based in New York and Massachusetts and desperately needed a contract management tool to streamline the Confidential Disclosure Agreements (CDA), consulting agreements, master service agreements and sponsored research agreements that support Ovid’s business activities.
Senior Director of Legal and Compliance, Danielle Mann, arrived at the company in mid 2018 and decided the project management tool Ovid was looking at implementing, just wasn’t up to the task.
A lack of customer support and the inability to customise the tool convinced Danielle to switch to
LawVu instead. “For me, customer service is a top priority. If you’re going to get management to buy into these kind of tools you also need it to be very user-friendly. If it’s complicated or is going to require intensive training for the employee, they’ll never do it.
“LawVu had the right balance of customization and ease of use. This meant we could get our team up
and running quickly.”
Ovid now has a central repository for all of their contracts and contract status. LawVu has eliminated the version control headaches and tracking issues.
“Once LawVu was in place it eliminated a lot of issues. There was a lot of ‘he said, she said’ about where the agreement stood but now it’s all in one place. We can produce a footprint of all the activity and no-one can longer say ‘it’s been sitting with legal or finance for approval’ because it tracks everything.”
The comments section allows people to record any internal or external conversations about a contract so no-one has to search through email strings to establish what’s been said, negotiated or approved.
“The various business functions, legal and compliance team should always work together, to support each other and their company. I believe in everyone coming together and this tool allows that because you can have those constant conversations within the tool and it’s all transparent. Everyone in the company has to be diligent about submitting the right contract, using the right forms and it gives everyone that same level of responsibility. That’s been the most beneficial part of it.”
Excellent customer service is a key reason why Danielle chooses to work with particular vendors.
“The LawVu team are fantastic. You don’t just become a number in their database. What I liked about LawVu from day one is their dedication and respect to you as a client.”
Danielle had prior experience with remote implementation and support and felt comfortable liaising with LawVu’s team from a distance. But she also appreciated the relationship both parties were able to build.
“They understand what you need and the pressure you’re under. If you’re forthcoming about things like ‘I have to have this up in six months and my board of directors needs to approve it’, they will work with you toward that.
Interactive web sessions were set up to walk Danielle through the finer details and she in turn held power point training sessions with Ovid staff and used screen shots to teach them how to use LawVu.
“What I also like is LawVu’s project team each having an area of expertise.
I knew who I needed for the technical stuff but also having a legal attorney on the team was a huge help because they understood the complexities of what I was trying to achieve within the tool. I like that each person on their team brings something to the table.
They’re not all developers, they’re not all sales or business people and they’re not all ex-legal or lawyers.”
Danielle says LawVu can be implemented very quickly as long as you (the client), establish a clear workflow and goals.
“You really need to know what it is you want, and what it is you’re looking for. The more information you provide to LawVu, the faster the implementation will be. You’re going to still learn through the process and think ‘oh this isn’t working, how can we change it?’ But the more information you have up front the better. And you’re never alone if you need help.”
Danielle chose to roll LawVu out in phases and tested it with individual Ovid departments to iron out any kinks before getting the whole company on board.
“I would start with the team who has the lowest risk of implementing the tool or with a stakeholder that is the most enthusiastic about doing it. You’ll get the best cooperation, response and feedback from that group,” she advises.
Now contract management is well in hand, Ovid plans to utilise LawVu’s matter management capabilities as well. “I think it’s a very straight- forward tool. We’re still a young company and we want to get the right tools in place to support all our business needs, work in the most efficient manner and collaborate on all levels from the outset.”
Key outcomes for Ovid Therapeutics
- All contracts now stored in one central hub
- Eliminates version control issues
- Transparency re: contract review and approval process
- Accurate record of internal and external conversations
- Greater cooperation and accountability between all departments