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IDrugs. 2010 Mar;13(3):175-80.

Open-access public-private partnerships to enable drug discovery--new approaches.

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  • 1Karolinska Institutet, Structural Genomics Consortium, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.


The productivity of the pharmaceutical industry, as assessed by the number of NMEs produced per US dollar spent in R&D, has been in steady decline during the past 40 years. This decline in productivity not only poses a significant challenge to the pharmaceutical industry, but also to society because of the importance of developing drugs for the treatment of unmet medical needs. The major challenge in progressing a new drug to the market is the successful completion of clinical trials. However, the failure rate of drugs entering trials has not decreased, despite various technological and scientific breakthroughs in recent decades, and despite intense target validation efforts. This lack of success suggests limitations in the fundamental understanding of target biology and human pharmacology. One contributing factor may be the traditional secrecy of the pharmaceutical sector, a characteristic that does not promote scientific discovery in an optimal manner. Access to broader knowledge relating to target biology and human pharmacology is difficult to obtain because interactions between researchers in industry and academia are typically restricted to closed collaborations in which the knowledge gained is confidential.However, open-access collaborative partnerships are gaining momentum in industry, and are also favored by funding agencies. Such open-access collaborations may be a powerful alternative to closed collaborations; the sharing of early-stage research data is expected to enable scientific discovery by engaging a broader section of the scientific community in the exploration of new findings. Potentially, the sharing of data could contribute to an increased understanding of biological processes and a decrease in the attrition of clinical programs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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