Much of today’s novel drug creation no longer takes place in the silos of academia, biotech companies or pharmaceutical corporations, but through external collaborative networks and strategic alliances pooling ideas and expertise across disciplines. An integral part of this collaborative business model is the contract research organizations (CROs) who supply the infrastructure and highly-skilled scientific staff with extensive industry experience in all aspects of drug discovery. As pharma has downsized and decentralized their R&D over the last decade, their experienced scientists have joined CROs, which have become increasingly sophisticated drug discovery engines.
By truly collaborating with their partners on an ongoing basis over a long period of time as they shepherd a project through the discovery process, scientists at CROs are in a unique position to be able to contribute innovative solutions and problem-solving skills developed through years of experience across a multitude of projects, from the very early stages of target identification and validation to candidate nomination and the transfer of these candidates to safety for an IND package. And yet, too often we’ve encountered projects where time was lost because the investigators simply were not aware of the full extent of the resources at their disposal. We’re putting a stop to that.
John Montana, PhD, executive director of integrated drug discovery, and the leader of the IDD team, discusses the difference between an integrated drug discovery project and a traditional outsourcing project.
We’ve established a team of industry experts with diverse backgrounds in four major therapeutic areas (oncology, CNS, CV/Met and respiratory) whose sole purpose is to design and consult on discovery programs, maintain an acute awareness of project goals and hurdles and work together to proactively solve problems related to those projects. The Integrated Drug Discovery (IDD) team consists of chemists, biologists, pharmacologists and toxicologists, all with extensive experience in delivering development candidates for partners throughout their careers, and each with a vested interest in our partners’ success. By uniting all of the key disciplines in a single team, projects are more thoughtfully designed and executed, and program resources are tailored very specifically according to our partners’ needs.
We know integrated drug discovery is effective – the results speak for themselves. Over the last 17 years, our integrated drug discovery programs have delivered 74 preclinical drug candidates and over 320 patents to our partners. In fact, four new development candidates were nominated in the first six weeks of 2017 alone.
Now, we’re making it more approachable. The IDD team brings a wealth of scientific knowledge, collaborative spirit and innovative thinking to every program, and the power of their collective experience is even greater than the sum of its parts. Designed to work with partners via an open flow of information to strategize, address issues and review progress, the IDD team provides a fluid and flexible relationship that is necessary to navigate the challenging and competitive drug discovery process.
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