Posts Tagged ‘University of California Los Angeles’

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Intellectual Property: Code of Ethics Violation – A Big Pharma Sponsor of Academic R&D bypassed A University’s Technology Transfer Office: UCLA slams the door on GlaxoSmithKline’s latest R&D competition

UCLA slams the door on GlaxoSmithKline’s latest R&D competition – FierceBiotech http://www.fiercebiotech.com/story/ucla-slams-door-glaxosmithklines-latest-rd-competition/2013-05-30#ixzz2UoFhfUlh


Fast Track or End Run?

May 28, 2013

These days many research universities are constantly looking for new grant competitions and encouraging their faculty members to apply. On Friday, the University of California at Los Angeles took the unusual step of telling professors not to apply to a major new grant competition from a pharmaceutical company, saying that the program violated university rules.

An e-mail marked “urgent” was sent Friday to all faculty members and deans about the Discovery Fast Track Competition, which was just announced this month and for which the sponsor — GlaxoSmithKline — is approaching faculty members directly, bypassing technology transfer offices at universities.

The company announced that the program was an attempt to reward academic researchers by offering a “fast track” to financing their most creative ideas. Faculty members are invited to submit short proposals and promised a quick decision later this year, leading to funding. The news release announcing the program this month said that grants would start promptly, without contract negotiations between the company, the researchers or their universities.

“To avoid initial contract negotiations, which are often perceived as the biggest bottleneck in the pharma/academia collaborative process, the [GlaxoSmithKline] team conceived the Discovery Fast Track competition as a means to rapidly identify and screen the most promising hypotheses in academia,” it said.

Faculty members just started to receive invitations last week, and when UCLA officials saw the terms of the proposed agreement, they took a step they have not taken previously — and told the entire campus not to apply.

“Please be advised that the terms and conditions do not adhere to UC policy because faculty have prior and ongoing obligations under the patent policy to disclose all discoveries to the university and have assigned patent rights to the university. Participation in the GSK competition would violate these policies and obligations,” said the e-mail, from James S. Economou, vice chancellor for research, and Brendan J. Rauw, associate vice chancellor for research and executive director of entrepreneurship.

In an interview, Rauw said that most proposals for corporate support for faculty members are coordinated through the university, which can negotiate terms consistent with university rules. He said that there was an inherent problem in a company saying that there could be no contract negotiations. Further, Rauw said that faculty members were being asked to give away rights they didn’t necessarily have (since the university has rules both for sharing intellectual property and assuring that agreements are consistent with academic principles). He also said that the phrasing of the grant proposal suggested that “background IP” from past work might be covered — even though it was not clear the company was entitled to those rights.

“This opens up our entire portfolio to a pharma company with no guarantee that our rights will be protected,” he said.

Rauw said UCLA faculty members may be among the first to have received the invitations. When he conferred with colleagues on other UC campuses last week, they had yet to receive grant details.

He noted that there has been “a perception” that universities “have given too much away” when dealing with pharmaceutical companies. Rauw said that UCLA has approved of grant relationships between GlaxoSmithKline and faculty members in the past (without problems), and that UCLA has reached out to the company to talk about how rules might be changed so that faculty members could participate.

“This is a challenging situation for us,” he said. “We are trying as a university to be open for industry and find opportunities for increased collaboration. But there is a balance there. We had to make a decision that this went too far.”

A spokeswoman for GlaxoSmithKline Friday said via e-mail Monday that she couldn’t comment on the UCLA concerns directly, but that the program was “designed to balance the playing field and avoid early IP contract negotiations, which can be the biggest obstacle to collaborative drug discovery.” She added that “there may be situations where initial interpretation of the Discovery Fast Track terms & conditions … will preclude some technology transfer officers from allowing researchers affiliated with their institution to participate,” but that she hoped university officials would “make a determined effort to read the competition documents … in detail before coming to a conclusion as to the provisions of these documents and competition outcomes.”



Three new rules for biopharma collaborations

May 21, 2012 | By 

Last week I moderated a panel called “The New Rules of Partnerships and Collaborations” at the Convergence East conference on Cape Cod, and the experience gave me a chance to probe some of the biopharma industry’s top dealmakers about their preferences and prejudices going into talks with other companies. I’ve decided to write down three key observations or “rules” that emerged during the panel and other notes from the Convergence meeting.

1. Competition is heating up for compelling clinical-stage assets–and not just those in Phase III trials. Take Biogen Idec’s ($BIIB) recent buyout of Stromedix for its Phase II-ready antibody STX-100 for combating fibrosis. Apparently, Pfizer ($PFE) was interested in buying the asset, Jose-Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, senior vice president of biotherapeutics R&D at the drug giant, revealed during the panel. Gutierrez-Ramos and Steven Holtzman, Biogen’s chief dealmaker (who obviously won the Stromedix deal), traded some jabs about why Biogen prevailed. The bottom line: Stromedix had options.

2. Which partners are most coveted among biotechs? At least in oncology, Celgene ($CELG) appears to be winning over collaborators. In one off-the-record conversation, two heads of business development told me that biotechs are warming up to the flexibility and creativity of the Summit, NJ-based drugmaker in deals. Celgene has been quite active with the recent buyout of Avila Therapeutics,partnership deal with Epizyme and ongoing tie-up with Agios Pharmaceuticals. Yet I wonder whether sharp biotech dealmakers in Cambridge, MA, are getting the best of Celgene at the negotiating table.

This 3-part webinar series is specifically geared toward the non-science professional who needs to better understand industry terminology, science, techniques and issues. This series provides an overview of the science and technology used to enable discovery and the processes scientists use to discover new therapeutics. Register Now!

For instance, one of my panelists, Anna Protopapas, executive vice president of global business development at Takeda Pharmaceutical, didn’t think that her company would have bought Avila Therapeutics under the terms that Celgene did early this year. Protopapas noted that the key asset in the deal, Avila’s Phase I Btk inhibitor, is a third-in-class compound, and first-in-class cancer drugs have an edge because of the difficulty that later drugs in the same class face in besting them. Did Celgene–which shelled out $350 million upfront and promised up to $575 million more in milestones–overpay for Avila?

3. Big Pharma can be your friend. Sure, we know about the monumental problems large drugmakers face from expiring patents on key drugs and assaults on their old business models. And, yes, drugmakers are entertaining all kinds of diverse deal structures with biotech companies to soften the blow. Yet every week or so we learn of another strategy drugmakers are using to efficiently develop products. Pfizer’s Gutierrez-Ramos shared one with me (though it wasn’t covered during the panel). He’s now looking for biotech partners that are interested in taking over development of drugs from Pfizer’s pipeline. He’s offering the compounds for free and willing to share in the success of the programs down the line.

Of course, Pfizer’s strategy here builds on the Center for Therapeutic Innovation, which the drug giant expanded last year through several collaborations with academic groups, which work with CTI on translational research. Like CTI, externalizing clinical development of Pfizer compounds at biotech companies, including venture-backed startups, lets the drug giant tap expertise that doesn’t reside under its own roof.

“I think the misperception is that,” outside of large buyouts and tiny deals, “Pfizer is not a great partner to work with because, due to the big acquisitions, we are product-driven [and] that the perception out there is that we just want products,” Gutierrez-Ramos said. “And what we have been trying to re-prove over the last two years is that the new Pfizer is not like that.” — Ryan McBride (Email | Twitter)

Three new rules for biopharma collaborations – FierceBiotech http://www.fiercebiotech.com/story/three-new-rules-biopharma-collaborations/2012-05-21#ixzz2UoEEjN00


20 Major Pharma-Academic Alliances in 2012

By Skye Toor and Ryan McBride

Big Pharma companies’ insatiable needs for growing their pipelines and grabbing dibs on hot new science send them running to academic labs. With some pharma groups slashing internal R&D, drugmakers have taken a shining to funding discovery and early R&D work at universities and academic medical centers.

Pharma groups have dabbled in commercializing innovations from academia for decades, but what’s happened more recently is a drive to expand the number and breadth of collaborations with academics and other external groups. Traditional pharma players such as Sanofi ($SNY), Eli Lilly ($LLY) and Pfizer ($PFE) have realized that their internal R&D groups alone aren’t enough.

Here we’ve rounded up 20 notable pharma-academic collaborations from 2012 or those that made headlines this year. Check out the list and learn where Big Pharma is placing its bets and seeding projects that could yield big-time products down the road.

Lilly backs $50M launch of public/private biotech research institute

May 30, 2013 | By 

Indiana’s biotech cluster just got a big boost. Eli Lilly ($LLY) and Roche Diagnostics ($RHHBY) have joined an industry consortium that will help launch a new research institute in Indiana that plans to hire a staff of about 100 investigators to pursue new treatments for a slate of metabolic diseases. And they’ll be joined by Notre Dame, Purdue and Indiana University, with the state chipping in the first $25 million of a $50 million startup fund.

Industry and philanthropic groups are being tapped for the second half of that start-up budget, with future bills covered by industry and government-sponsored research programs into cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and nutrition. The Indiana Biosciences Research Institute has already put out feelers for a new director and staff, which will be expected to help lead teams of collaborators drawn from the industry as well as regional universities.

The new institute’s research mission fits neatly into Eli Lilly’s corporate R&D strategy, which is closely focused on diabetes as one of its key disease areas.

INDIVIDUAL SESSION: $129, FULL SERIES: $239This 3-part webinar series is specifically geared toward the non-science professional who needs to better understand industry terminology, science, techniques and issues. This series provides an overview of the science and technology used to enable discovery and the processes scientists use to discover new therapeutics. Register Now!

“The Indiana Biosciences Research Institute will attract local and national scientific leaders beginning with the CEO and the recruitment of research “Indiana Fellows,” says the group’s press release. “These research fellows will lead teams of scientists and partner with industry and universities on research projects. These teams will consist of experts across a spectrum of competencies, including bioengineering, bioinformatics, nanotechnology and agriculture. These cross-functional teams will share resources and research laboratories at the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute and will work onsite at industry and research university labs with academic and industry scientists.”

– here’s the press release
– read the story from the Indianapolis Business Journal

Special Report: 20 Major Pharma-Academic Alliances in 2012

Related Articles:
Pfizer taps UCSF for small-molecule drug discovery
Three new rules for biopharma collaborations
Roche breaks ground on $300M diagnostics expansion

Lilly backs $50M launch of public/private biotech research institute – FierceBiotech http://www.fiercebiotech.com/story/lilly-backs-50m-launch-publicprivate-biotech-research-institute/2013-05-30#ixzz2UnscEHzj

20 Major Pharma-Academic Alliances in 2012 – FierceBiotech http://www.fiercebiotech.com/slideshows/20-major-pharma-academic-alliances-2012#ixzz2UnqkaqMH


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: