A New Model For Pharmaceutical Drug Development?
Lately, there seems to be more and more discussion about how does the pharmaceutical industry fix R&D. It's no secret the industry is suffering and innovation seems to be lacking. Stock prices of the large pharma companies are down 40%, 300,000 jobs have been lost in the last ten years and new drug approvals have slowed immensely.
Matthew Herper of "Forbes" magazine published an article recently "Rallying Pharma's Rebels" that discusses this issue and suggests some radical changes may be taking place in the way new drugs are developed and how R&D budgets should be spent. There are some proponents that suggest companies shut down their labs entirely and outsource work to small companies who are better suited to deal with innovation because of their size and ability to adapt to the unpredictability of drug development.
Another, less radical solution suggested in the article, is for the industry to adopt an "open-source" approach to drug development. This concept has been in use for a number of years in other industries and has worked very well. In "The Game-Changer: How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation" written by A.G. Lafely and Ram Charan, they explore how Procter & Gamble developed best practices that embraced innovation as a total corporate strategy and transformed P&G's organizational culture. One concept adopted was "open-source" innovation. They realized that they didn't need to own the innovation in-house, but that by listening to their customers, suppliers and employees, their productivity in developing new products that exceeded their customers' expectations far exceeded what they could do themselves. This idea is growing in acceptance in the pharmaceutical industry and some progress has been made towards incorporating this approach into some companies' R&D philosophies.
Whether some of the ideas presented in the "Forbes" article are viable for the industry remains to be seen, but one thing is clear, change is needed. New paradigms must be cultivated that focus on developing new drugs that help people a lot. We have even talked about it here before and have started a new LinkedIn Group Laboratory Research and Testing in an attempt to generate thought and discussion to try and jump-start innovation, at least from an analytical research and testing point of view. Join our community to share and learn in an open-source setting.
How is your company dealing with this?