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Collaborative Pre-competitive Preclinical Drug Discovery with Academics and Pharma/Biotech Partners at Sanford|Burnham: Infrastructure, Capabilities & Operational models

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 3 ]

Author(s):

Thomas D.Y. Chung   Pages 272 - 289 ( 18 )

Abstract:


There has been increased concern that the current "blockbuster" model of drug discovery and development practiced by "Big Pharma" are unsustainable in terms of cost (> $1 billion/approved drug) and time to market (10 - 15 years). The recent mergers and acquisitions (M&A), shuttering of internal research programs, closure of "redundant" sites of operations, senior management turnover and continued workforce reductions among the top 10 major pharmaceutical companies reflect draconian responses to reduce costs. However, the resultant exodus of intellectual capital, loss in motivation and momentum, and exit from early stage discovery programs by pharmaceutical companies has contributed to an "innovation deficit". Disease advocacy groups, investment communities and the government are calling for new innovative business models to address this deficit. In particular they are looking towards academia and clinical trials centers to catalyze new innovations in translational research. Indeed over the last decade many academic institutions have launched drug discovery centers largely comprising high-throughput screening (HTS) to accelerate "translational" research. A major impetus for this "open innovation" effort has been the National Institutes of Health (NIH) "Roadmap" and Molecular Libraries Initiative/Program (MLI/MLP), which is in its last year, and will be transitioned into the National Center for the Advancement of Translational Sciences (NCATS). With the end of Roadmap funding, general reduction in Federal government funding and its recent sequestration, academic drug discovery centers are being challenged to become selfsustaining, adding financial value, while remaining aligned with the missions of their respective academic non-profit institutions. We describe herein, a brief history of our bi-coastal Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics (Prebys Center) at the Sanford|Burnham Medical Research Institute (SBMRI), the key components of its infrastructure, core competencies of its fully integrated drug discovery expertise, best practices adopted in our day-to-day operations, and finally some of our current funding and collaboration and/or strategic alliance models for pre-competitive drug discovery with other academic/clinical partners, other governmental agencies, and with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Keywords:

Academic drug discovery, high-throughput screening, open innovation, pre-competitive collaboration and strategic alliance.

Affiliation:

Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics, Sanford|Burnham Medical Research Institute, 10901 North Torrey Pines Road, Bldg 2, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.



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