A Challenge to Big Pharma

June 28, 2011 By Aminda

As discussed in a recent post, medical industry innovation is a hot topic. From making the patient experience better through communication to moving the drug development process into the future, like companies like Sanofi are doing. Sanofi is using technology licensed from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary along with a development pact with Audion Therapeutics to combat hearing loss. The goal is to discover small molecules to treat hearing loss through regenerative medicine. There are currently no disease-modifying prescription drugs for hearing loss, which affects nearly a third of people aged 65 to 74 and half of those over 75

MaRS, a Canadian organization dedicated to better connecting the worlds of science, business and government, has put out an innovation challenge to other companies the industry. A recently published white paper called “New Models of Innovation in Life Sciences” states that the barrier for open innovation could be raised as high as Phase II studies via collaborative “test” studies with a prototype compound.

The challenge is to look beyond the traditional model, where, when any of several companies’ joint efforts fail, the lessons learned are buried: Useful information on safety, metabolism, rare adverse events and so on is lost.

On the other hand, the open innovation clinical model encourages collaboration around a public domain “pioneer” compound. Once the data has been collected, all parties would be free to innovate their own optimized proprietary compounds and hopefully avoid painful and costly missteps. The result, according to MaRS? Shorter development times and fewer late stage clinical disasters.

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