Week in Review: R&D Fueled By Collaboration

Week in Review: R&D Fueled By Collaboration

02.28.14 | By

We revisit the research and development (R&D) pipeline quite a bit, because it is a crucially important aspect of modern medicine. Having recently released our Medicines in Development report on the 180 medicines in the pipeline to treat diabetes and related conditions, it is important to recognize the steps that fuel innovation and medical advances.

This week we discussed some of the major cogs in the wheel of R&D, and the impact that collaboration has on this process. Our own Stephanie Fisher highlighted the difficulty the biopharmaceutical industry faces in recruiting patient volunteers for clinical trials. Drug development is often a lengthy process, taking upwards of 10-15 years for a treatment to come through the pipeline, and clinical trial delays due to low recruitment only prolong patient access to new medicines. One of the many challenges of recruitment is the representation of minority groups in clinical trials. Only five percent of African Americans and one percent of Hispanics participate, making the elimination of health disparities among these communities much more difficult. According to ClinicalTrials.gov, there are currently 161,980 studies being conducted around the world. Find the clinical trials being conducted in your backyard and share with others to help improve participation and ultimately find cures.

While each phase of the pipeline is essential to helping us bring innovative new medicines to patients in need, we must keep in mind the much less obvious factors that support the R&D process like strong intellectual property (IP) protection and public-private collaborations. Without strong IP laws in the U.S. and around the world, the biopharmaceutical industry would lose its ability to invest in R&D and protect patients from harmful counterfeit medicines. To support continued progress, it is essential that the U.S. government engage trading partners such as India and Canada on the importance of IP protection in upcoming trade discussions because strong IP means potentially life-saving treatments for patients.

In addition to protecting our intellectual property, the R&D process wouldn’t exist without public and private collaboration. In this week’s Conversations forum, our president and CEO John Castellani asked industry experts what they expect to come from the recently launched Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP). AMP, a partnership among the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 10 biopharmaceutical companies and several non-profit organizations, aims to transform the development process for three disease areas: Alzheimer’s, diabetes and autoimmune disorders. As Gary Nabel, Sanofi’s Chief Science Officer, noted, by joining forces and combining resources, AMP participants hope to better understand these conditions because it’s too much for a single organization to tackle alone.

The future of medicine relies on a collective effort to bring important treatments to patients. Read expert responses to Conversations and continue to share your thoughts with us. Together we can help better the lives of patients around the world.



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