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Academia and Industry Partnerships—Creating a Seamless Fit (Part I)

Posted By Genevieve Fraser, Friday, June 2, 2017

Though their organizations are quite different, the shared goal partners in an academia-industry life sciences alliance is to find a cure to address the disease, emphasized Mark Coflin, CSAP, an oncologist and head of alliance management at Shire Pharmaceutical, during a candid, rapid-fire discussion on the cultural differences between academia and industry. Coflin kicked off a session featuring several panelists  discussing “Making the Most of Industry-Academia Collaborations” during thePartnering for Performance in Life Sciences” track at the 2017 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Profit, Innovation, and Value for the Part­nering Enterprise,” Feb. 28-March 2 in San Diego, Calif.

 

Joining Coflin on the panel was Paula Norris, PhD, laboratory director and project manager at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP); Sarah Hudson, PhD, a biochemist, organic chemist, and associate director of R&D projects and operations at SBP; Joe Sypek, PhD, director and external science lead, comparative immunology at Shire Pharmaceuticals. The pharmaceutical company is dedicated to creating specialized medicines for patients with rare diseases.

 

Coflin opened the discussion with a major consideration for this kind of partnership: “From the science side, when you’re handed a project, if you haven’t been involved from the beginning, it’s difficult,” he offered. “Having someone on the alliance side helps a lot.”  Coflin said he has managed some one-off projects, but for the most part, his target institutions are involved with pediatric research where he is responsible for putting agreements together.

 

Sypek’s role at Shire is to identify and foster new academic alliance partnerships. This complex of new partnerships, in turn, feeds the early-discovery stage pipeline in the rare disease space within discovery biology and transitional research.  Shire’s milestone-based agreements are tied to contingent payments for each gene target if specified research, regulatory, clinical development, commercialization, and sales milestone events occur.

 

“We’ve tried other models,” Sypek said. “Each institution has nuances. Each has upfront money and needs money to start up. So, we start with initial payments and set the budget, year to year.”

 

“We do milestones because we need to get meaningful data.  We want data that is robust and statistically significant. If it doesn’t work out, the principle investigator (PI) can take the project and partner with someone else,” Sypek continued. “Treatments are an internal project that require regular lab meetings. Both parties must be committed to getting to goals, but all projects have regular meetings where we try to pour all necessary resources together for success.”

 

When setting up a team, if it doesn’t have a molecule, Shire might outsource and pay for its development, even if it’s outside of the budget.  In 2012, Shire entered a broad, three-year research collaboration in rare diseases with Boston Children’s Hospital, and since then has expanded to other pediatric hospitals. 

 

“Shire’s plan is to cast a broad net to get the best of the best to target the disease. That’s what the intentions are, but what are the challenges?” Sypek asked.

 

“Central to the challenges are the cultural differences between academia and industry. But the goal for both parties is to find a cure to address the disease,” Sypek concluded. “You can work for years in a lab, but it’s the research collaboration that allows a breakthrough [to be] possible. Today, academia seeks out industry partners. The boundary walls are not as high as they use to be. They are more in tune to working with industry. NIH budgets can be tight, and there are always questions about what might happen to funding. That’s where industry might be able to step in and fund research and materials.”

Part II of this blog post focuses on Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute’s perspective on academic-industry partnerships. 

Tags:  academia  alliance  Boston Children’s Hospital  collaboration  Joe Sypek  partner  Paula Norris  pediatric research  research  Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute  Sarah Hudson  Shire Pharmaceuticals 

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Focusing on ‘Alliance Expertise at the Forefront: Leadership for the Ecosystem,’ ASAP Issues Call for Topics and Presentations for 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference and 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference is once again shaping up to be the pivotal event of the year for partnering executives in health and life sciences. ASAP has issued its call for presenters and presentations for the event, which will be held Sept. 9-11, 2015 at The Revere Hotel Boston Common, and for the March 1-4, 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit in National Harbor Maryland. 

In describing the focus of this year’s biopharma event, ASAP’s programs committee emphasized that the biopharma alliance executive’s job is more challenging than ever. “We lead increasingly complex and diverse collaborations spanning industries and sectors. As our industries relentlessly evolve and interconnect, success or failure—in a global ecosystem of pharma leaders, biotech innovators, service organizations, providers, agencies, academia, patient advocates, and more—now hinges on the adroit leadership of partnering executives.” 

The programs committee seeks a diversity of presentations on topics that address the challenges and opportunities facing today’s biopharma partnering executives and their organizations. Key questions that presenters are encouraged to address include: 

  • How we lead in a way that makes the difference? What does it take to be strategic and proactive—without losing a relentless focus on execution? How can we guide our organizations as they collaborate across boundaries—and operationalize brand new business models in an increasingly interconnected network of new and existing partners?
  • How can partnering executives seize opportunities and root out risks wherever we find them? How do we help our organizations “see around corners,” anticipate what’s next, and move forward confidently through continuously shifting business, societal, and regulatory landscapes.
  • What builds a rock-solid management foundation for partnering success? You can’t “wing it” with partnering and collaboration—so how can partnering executives utilize ASAP’s alliance management expertise, training, shared knowledge, certification, and community as key building blocks for their sustainable success.
  • How can partnering executives capture and deliver the value envisioned in every collaboration? 

The 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference will explore these and related questions, with the goal of helping partnering executives develop the perspective of visionary leadership and the expertise to act amidst uncertainty. Attendees at the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference will enhance their management skills to engage stakeholders and integrate partnering throughout the business, fostering healthier outcomes for people and billions in stakeholder revenue for their biopharma organizations and ecosystems. 

It’s easier than ever to submit a topic for the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference—or for the 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit. There are even two submission processes—a simplified one taking less than five minutes, and a more detailed proposal that takes about 20 minutes. Click here and follow the directions for submission.

Tags:  2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference  2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit  academia  agencies  Alliance Expertise  biotech innovators  Call for Topics/Presentations  Ecosystem  global ecosystem of pharma leaders  health and life sciences  Leadership  partnering executives  providers  service organizations 

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