Modern pharmaceuticals can work wonders to improve and prolong life, but new and better medicines are notoriously difficult to develop.
In this article, the vice president of R&D of Teva, a world-leading Pharma company, focuses on what he terms “The Valley of Death,” the gap between academia and industry where many promising ideas go astray. The article takes us through the nine stages of the long journey from innovative idea to approved medicine:
- The first three stages – early novel pathway exploration, target discovery, and target validation – happen in academia.
- The last four, involving clinical development and registration, belong in the Pharma industry.
- And the two in between, discovery and pre-clinical, together comprising the Translational Research phase, could be funded by either domain but are typically underfunded by both.
The author looks in detail at the economic and organizational constraints that can destroy the process during the Translational Research phase. He then reveals a number of potential solutions to this problem, some driven by industry, some by governments, others by private foundations. Examples are initiatives by government, industry, and private non-profits that fund and encourage translational research; government initiatives aiming to bring together academics and industry personnel; and companies trying to change the intrinsic economics of translational research – a change that is perhaps the most critical to future success in this domain. Much remains to be done, but the efforts described are steps in the right direction.
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Appeared in the issue: Coller Venture Review — 2016 -3 — Deep Innovation Issue