Collaboration as the key to turning around the drug discovery business (Part 4) – Collaboration and Innovation

What is the right type of innovation for successful drug discovery today?

How do innovation and collaboration contribute to the success of your drug discovery efforts today?

many small light bulbs equal big one

The answers depend upon your strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis).  As much as there is no single formula for all situations, there are more and less productive ways to think about innovation.  Many times people confuse innovation with novelty.  Novelty is an integral part of course, but a meaningful innovation will also show an improvement over the status quo.

Jeremy Hsu of InnovationNewsDaily, talks about how risk aversion of the pharmaceutical industry is leading to drug candidates that fail regulatory standards because they don’t offer significant improvement over existing drugs. Bernard Munos, founder of the InnoThink Center for Research in Biomedical Innovation, adds that there is no such thing as a safe approach to innovation: “You’ve got this paradox where a so-called ‘low-risk’ strategy of sticking to what you know — trying to replicate the breakthroughs or successes of the past by sticking to known families and known targets — is actually very risky”.

The drug discovery industry has seen a 50% decline in the number of new drugs submitted for FDA approval over the past 15 years, and Hsu believes it is a result of mitigating the risks of innovation. Pharmaceutical companies have focused on producing drugs that meet market demand, which means re-focusing on billion dollar blockbuster drugs, whose patents are about to expire, and cutting funding for independent research of novel leads to compensate for the higher cost of pushing “safe” drug candidates through clinical trials.

Adopting collaborative technologies, processes, and philosophies can catalyze innovation, and allows for, well, sharing. Sharing the risks and costs as well as knowledge and rewards. For large pharmaceutical companies, the potential for “disruptive innovation” that comes from engaging with smaller companies and academic institutions, trumps the risks of making external bets.  With the right cloud-based technologies and database resources, collaborations within, as well as across organizations, benefit from cost-sharing, complementary expertise and fresh perspectives.

Read more about collaboration as a solution to drug discovery challenges.
You can also download the full series “Collaboration as the key to turning around the drug discovery business” by Barry Bunin as a pdf document:


This blog is authored by members of the CDD Vault community. CDD Vault is a hosted drug discovery informatics platform that securely manages both private and external biological and chemical data. It provides core functionality including chemical registration, structure activity relationship, chemical inventory, and electronic lab notebook capabilities!

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