If you read the Pharma Reform blog, you'll know that its author, Mike Wokasch, often writes that for drug companies to be successful in developing new products in the future, they will need to work cross functionally to generate a comprehensive understanding of disease (e.g., pathophysiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology).
In this post, he poses a couple of questions around why pharma isn't way more successful than academics or biotechs at discovering new drugs despite a big advantage in R&D spending. One mitigating effect, is that even though Big Pharma says it spent $68 M last year on R&D, only about 30% went to new discovery and preclinical activities -- so the absolute spend is misleading in that context.
Secondly, he postulates -- effectively -- that Big Pharma has a lot more distractions for its scientists. They are bothered much more by organizational expectations, bureaucracy, and time pressures to deliver compounds rather than understanding the science. And -- to top it off -- when they are successful, top scientists tend to get promoted to other projects, administrative duties, or increased management responsibilities that removes (mitigates) their expertise to focus on the day to day work of discovery research.
Do you think that is true? Do academics get to apply their expertise, time, and a passionate focus for a comprehensive understanding of the science behind their work to a higher degree than those scientists at Big Pharma?
Posted by Bruce Lehr July 14th 2011.