Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pharma: New Tufts Report Shows Academic-Industry Partnerships Are Mutually Beneficial

New Tufts Report Shows Academic-Industry Partnerships Are Mutually Beneficial 
April 30, 2012 -

According to a new study by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, collaboration among organizations is becoming increasingly important to advancing basic research and developing new medicines. This study specifically explores the breadth and nature of partnerships between biopharmaceutical companies and academic medical centers (AMCs)
[1] which are likely to play an increasingly important role in making progress in treating unmet medical needs. 
In the study, researchers examine a subset of public-private partnerships, including more than 3,000 grants to AMCs from approximately 450 biopharmaceutical company sponsors that were provided through 22 medical schools. Findings show that while it is generally accepted that these partnerships have become an increasingly common approach both to promote public health objectives and to produce healthcare innovations, it is anticipated that their nature will continue to evolve over time and their full potential is yet to be realized.

Tufts researchers also found that the nature of these relationships is varied, ever-changing, and expanding. They often involve company and AMC scientists and other researchers working side-by-side on cutting-edge science, applying advanced tools and resources. This type of innovative research has enabled the United States to advance biomedical research in a number of areas, such as the development of personalized medicines and the understanding of rare diseases.

The report outlines the 12 primary models of academic-industry collaborations and highlights other emerging models, which reflect a shift in the nature of academic-industry relationships toward more risk- and resource-sharing partnerships. While unrestricted research support has generally represented the most common form of academic-industry collaboration, Tufts research found that this model is becoming less frequently used. A range of innovative partnership models are emerging, from corporate venture capital funds to pre-competitive research centers to increasingly used academic drug discovery centers.

These collaborations occur across all aspects of drug discovery and the partnerships benefit both industry and academia since they provide the opportunity for the leading biomedical researchers in both sectors to work together to explore new technologies and scientific discoveries. Such innovation in both the science and technology has the potential to treat the most challenging diseases and conditions facing patients today.

According to Tufts, “[t]he industry is funding and working collaboratively with the academic component of the public sector on basic research that contributes broadly across the entire spectrum of biomedical R&D, not just for products in its portfolio.” In conclusion, the report notes that in the face of an increasingly challenging R&D environment and overall global competition, we are likely to witness the continued proliferation of AMC-industry partnerships.

[1] C.P. Milne, et al., “Academic-Industry Partnerships for Biopharmaceutical Research & Development: Advancing Medical Science in the U.S.,” Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, April 2012.