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Archive for the ‘Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize’ Category


Real Time Coverage @BIOConvention #BIO2019:  Issues of Risk and Reproduceability in Translational and Academic Collaboration; 2:30-4:00 June 3 Philadelphia PA

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD @StephenJWillia2

Derisking Academic Science: The Unmet Need  

Translating academic research into products and new therapies is a very risky venture as only 1% of academic research has been successfully translated into successful products.

Speakers
Collaboration from Chicago area universities like U of Chicago, Northwestern, etc.  First phase was enhance collaboration between universities by funding faculty recruitment and basic research.  Access to core facilities across universities.  Have expanded to give alternatives to company formation.
Half of the partnerships from Harvard and companies have been able to spin out viable startups.
Most academic PI are not as savvy to start a biotech so they bring in biotechs and build project teams as well as developing a team of ex pharma and biotech experts.  Derisk as running as one asset project.  Partner as early as possible.  A third of their pipeline have been successfully partnered.  Work with investors and patent attorneys.
Focused on getting PIs to get to startup.  Focused on oncology and vaccines and I/O.  The result can be liscensing or partnership. Running around 50 to 60 projects. Creating a new company from these US PI partnerships.
Most projects from Harvard have been therapeutics-based.  At Harvard they have a network of investors ($50 million).   They screen PI proposals based on translateability and what investors are interested in.
In Chicago they solicit multiple projects but are agnostic on area but as they are limited they are focused on projects that will assist in developing a stronger proposal to investor/funding mechanism.
NYU goes around university doing due diligence reaching out to investigators. They shop around their projects to wet their investors, pharma appetite future funding.  At Takeda they have five centers around US.  They want to have more input so go into the university with their scientists and discuss ideas.
Challenges:

Takeda: Data Validation very important. Second there may be disconnect with the amount of equity the PI wants in the new company as well as management.  Third PIs not aware of all steps in drug development.

Harvard:  Pharma and biotech have robust research and academic does not have the size or scope of pharma.  PIs must be more diligent on e.g. the compounds they get from a screen… they only focus narrowly

NYU:  bring in consultants as PIs don’t understand all the management issues.  Need to understand development so they bring in the experts to help them.  Pharma he feels have to much risk aversion and none of their PIs want 100% equity.

Chicago:  they like to publish at early stage so publication freedom is a challenge

Dr. Freedman: Most scientists responding to Nature survey said yes a reproduceability crisis.  The reasons: experimental bias, lack of validation techniques, reagents, and protocols etc.
And as he says there is a great ECONOMIC IMPACT of preclinical reproducability issues: to the tune of $56 billion of irreproducable results (paper published in PLOS Biology).  If can find the core drivers of this issue they can solve the problem.  STANDARDS are constantly used in various industries however academic research are lagging in developing such standards.  Just the problem of cell line authentication is costing $4 billion.
Dr. Cousins:  There are multiple high throughput screening (HTS) academic centers around the world (150 in US).  So where does the industry go for best practices in assays?  Eli Lilly had developed a manual for HTS best practices and in 1984 made publicly available (Assay Guidance Manual).  To date there have been constant updates to this manual to incorporate new assays.  Workshops have been developed to train scientists in these best practices.
NIH has been developing new programs to address these reproducability issues.  Developed a method called
Ring Testing Initiative” where multiple centers involved in sharing reagents as well as assays and allowing scientists to test at multiple facilities.
Dr.Tong: Reproduceability of Microarrays:  As microarrays were the only methodology to do high through put genomics in the early 2000s, and although much research had been performed to standardize and achieve best reproduceability of the microarray technology (determining best practices in spotting RNA on glass slides, hybridization protocols, image analysis) little had been done on evaluating the reproducibility of results obtained from microarray experiments involving biological samples.  The advent of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning though can be used to help validate microarray results.  This was done in a Nature Biotechnology paper (Nature Biotechnology volume28pages827–838 (2010)) by an international consortium, the International MAQC (Microarray Quality Control) Society and can be found here
However Dr. Tong feels there is much confusion in how we define reproduceability.  Dr. Tong identified a few key points of data reproduceability:
  1. Traceability: what are the practices and procedures from going from point A to point B (steps in a protocol or experimental design)
  2. Repeatability:  ability to repeat results within the same laboratory
  3. Replicatablilty:  ability to repeat results cross laboratory
  4. Transferability:  are the results validated across multiple platforms?

The panel then discussed the role of journals and funders to drive reproduceability in research.  They felt that editors have been doing as much as they can do as they receive an end product (the paper) but all agreed funders need to do more to promote data validity, especially in requiring that systematic evaluation and validation of each step in protocols are performed..  There could be more training of PIs with respect to protocol and data validation.

Other Articles on Industry/Academic Research Partnerships and Translational Research on this Open Access Online Journal Include

Envisage-Wistar Partnership and Immunacel LLC Presents at PCCI

BIO Partnering: Intersection of Academic and Industry: BIO INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION June 23-26, 2014 | San Diego, CA

R&D Alliances between Big Pharma and Academic Research Centers: Pharma’s Realization that Internal R&D Groups alone aren’t enough

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Breakthrough Prize

LAUREATES

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SOURCE

https://breakthroughprize.org/Laureates/2

 

 

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