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July 22, 2011
Right Up Next to Academia
Here's one of Pfizer's get-close-to-academia research centers, being established near UCSF. The idea is that you not only want to do deals with academic research centers (and associated small biotechs), you also want to be physically present with them:
"Proximity leads to progress; this promises to be a very strong liaison," said Dr. Warner Greene, director of virology and immunology research at Gladstone Institutes, a basic-science research nonprofit at Mission Bay that will sublease space to Pfizer. "There is a valley of death for many basic-science discoveries that have significant promise because they are not far enough advanced to be of interest to a biotech or pharmaceutical company. By forming closer relationships between Pfizer and biotech companies, I think more creative solutions can be had for moving research down the pipeline."
Now, I would like to believe that this is true, but what I'd like to believe doesn't necessarily correspond to reality. I do think that (for various reasons) it will hurt your small biopharma company's chances if you establish it in, say, Sioux Falls, Yakima, or Louisville. So being "out of the loop" can hurt, but does it follow that being ever more tightly in it helps? Does anyone have evidence that speaks to this?
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