How to create innovation by building the translation bridge from basic research into medicinal drugs: an industrial perspective

Paul G Germann, Alexander Schuhmacher, Juan Harrison, Ronald Law, Kevin Haug, Gordon Wong
Human Genomics 2013, 7: 5
The global healthcare industry is undergoing substantial changes and adaptations to the constant decline of approved new medical entities. This decrease in internal research productivity is resulting in a major decline of patent-protected sales (patent cliff) of most of the pharmaceutical companies. Three major global adaptive trends as driving forces to cope with these challenges are evident: cut backs of internal research and development jobs in the western hemisphere (Europe and USA), following the market growth potential of Asia by building up internal or external research and development capabilities there and finally, 'early innovation hunting' with an increased focus on identifying and investing in very early innovation sources within academia and small start-up companies. Early innovation hunting can be done by different approaches: increased corporate funding, establishment of translational institutions to bridge innovation, increasing sponsored collaborations and formation of technology hunting groups for capturing very early scientific ideas and concepts. This emerging trend towards early innovation hunting demands special adaptations from both the pharmaceutical industry and basic researchers in academia to bridge the translation into new medicines which deliver innovative medicines that matters to the patient. This opinion article describes the different modalities of cross-fertilisation between basic university or publicly funded institutional research and the applied research and development activities within the pharmaceutical industry. Two key factors in this important translational bridge can be identified: preparation of both partnering organisations to open up for new and sometime disruptive ideas and creation of truly trust-based relationships between the different groups allowing long-term scientific collaborations while acknowledging that value-creating differences are an essential factor for successful collaboration building.

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