Thursday, June 12, 2008

Big pharma and innovation

The next few years are likely to be tough for the pharma industry with a number of blockbusters going off patent and pipelines looking thinner than usual across the board. Companies are looking at ways of driving the innovation process.

The FT reported that Patrick Vallance, the head of drug discovery at GlaxoSmithKline, saying research at the company would be reorganized to become 'more biotech-like' in efforts to stimulate innovation. The plan was to split drug discovery into small units focused on specific disease areas, reward people based on successful 'value creation', while providing 'disincentives' against destroying value.

Meanwhile, Pfizer and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), announced a partnership in which the company will contribute $9.5 million to early-stage research at the university over the next three years.

Usually, industry funding targets specific projects, but in this case, researchers at the UCSF's Institute for Quantitative Biosciences will collaborate more broadly with the company, with both parties working together to identify promising ideas in different health disciplines. The academic researchers and their institution will retain patents to any inventions, while Pfizer will have the right to negotiate licenses on the technology.

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