About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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February 6, 2012

The Academic-Industrial Collaboration in Drug Discovery Panel: Today

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Posted by Derek

As mentioned before, I'm going to be moderating a panel today on industry-academic collaborations in drug discovery at the SLAS meeting in San Diego. It starts at 10:30 AM Pacific Time, and you can access a live stream of the event here (scroll down).

And if anyone has more questions on the subject they'd like to see raised (or things that they'd rather not see raised again!), please add them to the comments for this post. I'll be checking it during the day.

Update: here's the whole session, for those who missed it.

Comments (8) + TrackBacks (0) | Category:


1. Cellbio on February 6, 2012 9:53 AM writes...

Picking up a theme of innovation from another post, I think it worthwhile to think about the displaced industry workforce as a resource for academic entrepreneurs. I am guessing this panel discussion is more about industry that has the resources to pay Universities for collaboration, but if there is any discussion on start-ups or SBIRs, pointing out the bounty of available skilled people who have free time to help put together plans and seek funding might be useful. Attended a panel last week where, surprising to me, the academic participants with company aspirations were very much in the dark about grant requirements. Some certainly just want to replace lost RO1s, but many are truly trying to get things going on a company front and need help.

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2. PharmaHeretic on February 6, 2012 10:20 AM writes...

What Industry? Is there one left.. other than a few isolated places that have escaped attention from the managerial class.

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3. Me on February 6, 2012 12:08 PM writes...

For me, the biggest issue seems to be IP. Who gets what, especially as pharma will probably supply the funding. Nothing is going to hamper open discussion like arugments over future revenues.

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4. Jonathan on February 6, 2012 12:35 PM writes...

I've mentioned this before via email, but I'd like to see suggestions of what people see as the areas that are likely to be most productive. There's a lot of pressure to increase academic-industry collaboration, so it might as well result in benefits rather than people just complaining and the money being spent but wasted.

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5. microbiologist on February 6, 2012 1:03 PM writes...

I agree with #1, cellbio: Academic researchers could benefit from consultation (one-time or ongoing) with laid-off industrial scientists. I regularly review NIH grants for small businesses (often spun out of academic labs), and I also review RO1 applications from academics whose research relates to drug discovery. The academic researchers are expert in their fields, and are often correct in thinking that there is a potential application to drug discovery. A realistic experimental plan could yield something interesting. However, academic researchers often know almost nothing about drug discovery. This can be glaringly obvious in their proposals. Some applicants expect to prioritize hits from a high-throughput screen by seeing which of the hits is effective in an animal model of the disease. Some expect to rely on contract synthesis for medicinal chemistry. It is frustrating to read these applications, realizing that the proposals could often be much more realistic (and successful) with just a little help and that most universities do not provide that help at all. The NIH reviewers' critique form now has a space for suggestions to applicants, where I frequently add a comment such as: "Seeking advice from a consultant knowledgeable in antibacterial drug discovery is strongly recommended. As a result of recent mergers and cutbacks in the pharmaceutical industry, numerous scientists with extensive experience are now working as free-lance consultants."

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6. davesnyd on February 6, 2012 2:06 PM writes...

Flip the question when should funding happen? Should industrial partners buy validated compounds? Shoud academic labs be cros developing stuff on spec? Or should industry finance research areas that are of interest to them and then have access to fruits of the labor?

Also, should we standardize the interface more? The panel started down that path earlier weand heard how NC did that for their researchers. Lilly has their program for that. If there were standard ways to spec, describe, and fund research, does that create a marketplace, a kind of ebay for research?

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7. lynn on February 6, 2012 9:39 PM writes...

microbiologist @#5
I was going to write almost exactly the same thing this morning - but got busy. So I'm glad you wrote it...and I'll probably be seeing you later this week in Seattle [whoever you are] :)

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8. Michael on February 9, 2012 5:16 PM writes...

Is there a link to watch this discussion after 6th?

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