Report: Big Pharma Needs More Open Innovation

Deanna Pogorelc (Philadelphia, PA) —

Over the next few years, we’ll likely be seeing more stories along the lines of Merck’s $90 million translational research center for scientists, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists; Sanofi’s partnership with Third Rock Ventures to launch a new biotech company; and Johnson & Johnson, GSK and Index Ventures’ new investment fund. According to a new report from GBI Research, that’s because open innovation and cooperation in the pharmaceutical industry will continue to gain traction as patent losses and R&D cutbacks force drug companies to look outside of their own walls for promising technologies.

As an industry, “big pharma” has become more receptive to cooperative alliances, partnerships and joint ventures with R&D specialists over the last decade, the report says. They’ve also refined their therapeutic focus, invested in biologics and taken some prescription products over the counter to accommodate.

The report predicts that this is expected continue over the next decade, with more companies redirecting some of their investments into scientific hubs in China and India, like CROs Quintiles and IndiPharm already have. And increased awareness of open innovation will continue to lead academic institutions to pick up their tech transfer efforts.

In addition, the report echoes expert commentary that pharma will need to become all-around more collaborative in filling its pipelines. Last month, a Quintiles report suggested that healthcare payers will also become increasingly involved in early drug development.

As Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher told reporters during the recent CED Life Sciences Conference: “The days when we locked all of our scientists up in a building and put them on a nice tree-lined campus are done.”

Deanna Pogorelc is a staff writer at MedCity News, where this article first appeared.

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