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Data sharing is in our DNA

It is simply not true to state the pharmaceutical industry is not sharing its data. The fact is that it is, and in abundance. If sharing of data in the industry wasn’t happening it simply would not flourish in the ways it has and certain discoveries and innovations would not be brought to the world.

The concept of ‘Open Innovation’ has been around for decades, and allowed the industry to thrive from expanding brainpower and investigation of data. ‘Open Innovation’ provides platforms for idea-sharing and reduces barriers for collaborations between investigators working inside and outside an organisation. Free exchange of ideas between investigators across traditionally impregnable organizational walls contributes to the advancement of science.

I share some wonderful examples of this in action below.

We very much recognize there are important public health benefits associated with making clinical study information publicly available to researchers, healthcare practitioners, patients and others.

However, sharing of data is complicated as it must maintain protection for individual patient privacy, intellectual property including commercially confidential information, and contract rights.

There are also important duties of care with any data that is released to ensure that it is not misinterpreted or misused. That is why it is important certain controls and guards must be put in place to safeguard the overriding public interests. Imagine how devastating it would be for harm to come from some well-meaning, but misleading, interpretation of data that is released. Open innovation platforms and facilities look to deliver safe and effective sharing of data.

Over the coming months, I will showcase a selection of the fantastic examples of data sharing that is going on across Europe. This will hopefully tackle the myth that the industry is not sharing its data. Below is just a taster of the great work going on:

A company perspective: GSK

To encourage innovation targeting diseases of the developing world – where there is not the same potential commercial return as in developed countries – GSK has changed the way it thinks about intellectual property and the way it works with others.

Its open innovation strategy is designed to promote change beyond GSK by sharing expertise, resources intellectual property and know-how with external researchers and the scientific community. Although the current focus is on disease of the developing world, GSK is already adapting open innovations models to apply to other areas of great medical need and scientific challenge including infectious and rare diseases.

For more visit the following website.

A company perspective: Eisai

Eisai recently won a prestigious award from the University College London (UCL) recognizing the company’s commitment to exploring new ideas and paths to drug discovery in neuroscience through ‘Open Innovation’ with the world-leading academic institution UCL.

Eisai and UCL have a long-standing partnership to further neuroscience research. The organizations have also recently formed a major drug discovery alliance with the concept of open innovation to investigate radical new ways of treating neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This collaboration maximizes UCL’s world-class, early stage and translational research in neurodegenerative diseases and Eisai’s expertise in drug discovery, development and bringing new agents to market in an effort to increase benefits to patients.

For more visit the following website.

An EU perspective: IMI’s Success Stories

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is Europe’s largest public-private-partnership encouraging collaboration in order to tackle tough healthcare challenges. IMI projects are fostering open innovation, with data being shared freely among pharmaceutical companies, academic teams and SMEs. The results of this unprecedented collaborative effort are already being seen:

  • U-BIOPRED aims to address knowledge gaps on severe asthma, with the ultimate aim of generating a “handprint” – a combination of biological characteristics – to help determine what type of data a patient is suffering from. The initiative benefits from active involvement of patients, who report outcomes to contribute to the data pool.
  • Thanks to the willingness of involved stakeholders to openly share data, the NEWMEDS consortium has generated the largest databases on schizophrenia and antidepressants trials, and the treated depressed population and demonstrated that clinical trials can be optimised (size and duration).
  • The EU-AIMS project, devoted to autism research in Europe, has promoted a number of successful developments in autism research, the results of which have been published in various media. Among other accomplishments, EU-AIMS researchers have succeeded in identifying 4,933 de novo mutations – these increase in a man’s sperm as he ages, leading to an increased risk of autism or schizophrenia.
  • The COMBACTE (Combatting Bacterial Resistance in Europe) project, part of IMI’s New Drugs for Bad Bugs (ND4BB), targets the growing threat of AMR. As a public-private partnership, COMBACTE is breaking the mold when it comes to traditional relationships between academia and the industry, by pushing aside the fee-for-service model.
  • eTRIKS (the European Translational Information and Knowledge Management Services) brings together 16 different partners with the aim of increasing the efficiency of translational research. eTRIKS is supporting various translational research projects both within and beyond IMI, with the goal being the development of a translational research knowledge management community.

For more visit the following website.

An industry perspective: Collaborative Innovation Models (from IFPMA)
Companies are increasingly working in partnerships and licensing in and out technologies and knowledge instead of developing and keeping them in-house. This facilitates the dissemination of technologies and know-how to a much wider scientific community, while allowing industry to incorporate promising external research to its knowledge pool.

This collaboration can take place amongst a large range of partners, like academia, public research institutions, Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) and small, medium and large biopharmaceutical companies.

This new way of conducting pharmaceutical innovation is facilitating research on both “mainstream” diseases and the so-called “Neglected Diseases”. On the latter, pharmaceutical companies often engage with different institutions to advance research where the limited market would not justify the R&D investments, sharing its library of compounds, know-how and/or research infrastructure as needed. This collaborative model has led to a drastic increase in the R&D projects for neglected diseases.

For more visit the following website.

Richard Bergström

Richard Bergström was appointed as Director General of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and...
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