Monday, October 11, 2010

Pharma and University Collaborations: On the Rise

Pharma members and university researchers have increasingly formed collaborative partnerships to develop new medicines, according to a Business Insights report.

But you don’t need a report to tell you that. Just one media account, like this FierceBiotech story – about AstraZeneca and the University College of London --
tells you there are many other collaborations right behind it. AZ and University College signed a three-year deal to create drugs that use stem cells to mend the damaged eyesight of those with diabetes. GSK also has a deal with University College. 

A quick rundown of reasons for these partnerships: Pharma needs fast and furious ways to beat patent expirations; all the low-hanging, cheap developmental fruit’s been picked; and the remaining developmental fruit is costing, and will continue to cost, huge amounts of money. As for why the universities are signing on, they need cash too – endowments are down, public financial support is down. Both sides have good reasons to partner up. 

There’s every reason to think that good outcomes can happen. Consider the trove of information -- all being shared -- recently uncovered about Alzheimer’s disease when academia, government, and pharma researchers collaborated. 

But on second thought: We shouldn’t be too hopeful. It’s likely just a matter of time before pharma critics start complaining about these collaborations. 

For what legitimate reason? We've no idea.

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