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The Milken Institute Global Conference, which explores solutions to pressing challenges including healthcare, took place today in Los Angeles.  FasterCures reported on the conference proceedings with the blog post below – two facts caught our attention:

  • Only 1 of every 10,000 academic discoveries make their way into the hands of patients….
  • Industry has 0.1% of scientists in world.  They are as good as any other scientists, but they’ll only have 0.1% of ideas. 

These facts truly bring home the message that academia and industry must work together.  And advocacy groups such as RSRT can play a major role in catalyzing these interactions.

FasterCures Blog

“We don’t just want to chase cures, we want to catch them,” said National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins at the Milken Institute Global Conference today in Los Angeles.  His comment aptly captured the prevailing sentiment of a panel of life science experts who came together to discuss creative strategies for speeding and improving medical progress across diseases in the face of limited resources. 

As moderator Melissa Stevens (Deputy Executive Director, FasterCures) pointed out, our knowledge of disease has never been deeper, but our need for cures has also never been greater.  Only 1 of every 10,000 academic discoveries make their way into the hands of patients, and the cost of developing a new therapy can soar as high as $1 billion. But it’s not all bad news.  With greater cross-sector collaboration and increasing levels of openness in research, we are poised to capitalize on the scientific opportunities before us.  “But we have to stop playing like solo artists, and start playing like a band,” said Stevens.

When asked how that band could best jam together, Collins gave the example of NIH’s Accelerating Medicines Partnership. A new venture between the NIH, 10 biopharmaceutical companies – including Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline, both represented on the panel – and several non-profit organizations, it seeks to transform the current model for developing new diagnostics and treatments by jointly identifying and validating promising biological targets of disease.

Melinda Richter, Head of Janssen Labs, talked about industry’s commitment to sustaining innovation through collaboration, citing Johnson & Johnson’s role as key architect of Transcelerate and creator of the YODA project, as examples. “Jannsen labs enables scientists to think about their science in a commercial way, and creates a financial marketplace where people with money looking for technology and people with technology looking for money can find each other.” She went on to note that industry has a duty to make sure there is a strong investment profile for individuals looking to put money into the field. 

“There is a new level of humility within industry,” said Moncef Slaoui, Chairman, Global R&D and Vaccines at GlaxoSmithKline, who noted that the private sector recognizes the need to embrace open innovation and collaboration to solve medical challenges. “Industry has 0.1% of scientists in world.  They are as good as any other scientists, but they’ll only have 0.1% of ideas.  The other ideas are happening elsewhere so we need to figure out where and how to combine forces.”

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