Pharma R&D Today
Ideas and Insight supporting all stages of Drug Discovery & Development
Leveraging Partnerships to Rescue and Develop Promising Technologies
Posted on November 14th, 2018 by 4P Pharma in Pharma R&D
There are a number of players in the field of innovative therapeutics for cancer and inflammatory disease, but our company, 4P-Pharma, is taking a somewhat different approach than most of our competition.
How our partnership model drives success
Drug development has become a long, risky and expensive process. It is becoming extremely difficult to find pharmaceutical companies willing to believe and invest in technologies at an early stage of development and, in particular, coming from academic laboratories that have not validated them in an independent environment. As a result, the number of new drugs entering the development pipeline is dangerously drying up, despite all the efforts of researchers and biotech startups.
Our partnership model at 4P-Pharma gives us the advantage of validating the most promising academic discoveries in our laboratories, by using well-recognized, independent criteria and in a way which the pharmaceutical industry is used to. Our asset is to have an eye on the academic R&D environment, the clinical practice and pharmaceutical companies’ needs at the same time, as well as to understand and speak all their different “languages” at once.
Bridging the gap from discovery to market
Our activity is based on acquiring licensing options for innovative technologies at an early stage of development in the biomedical field, which we do by identifying and assessing innovative projects coming from universities, technology transfer offices (TTOs) and start-ups. In particular, innovative academic laboratories are often stuck in a place where their projects have been extensively explored within the university, but not developed enough from an industrial point of view. This situation results in numerous projects simply being lost in the process, as they are too early-stage to raise interest from an industrial partner or an investor, despite their great potential.
That’s where we come in, as we define and implement a co-development maturation project with our partners to speed up technology development time and reduce the risks connected with the initial validation phases. If the outcome of the maturation program is positive, we exercise a licensing option for the developed technologies and implement regulatory preclinical development until phase I/IIa. The result of this model is that, at the end of the early maturation phase, we have a technology that has been validated by us in-house and whose value has greatly increased. This process is of course risky, but also very rewarding when the technologies reach clinical phase, as we committed to them from the early-stage.
The benefits of a vast and varied network
Our approach thrives on partnerships. The 4P-Pharma network is comprised of TTOs, academic laboratories (both at the university and hospital), biotech companies and pharmaceutical firms. TTOs certainly have a pivotal role in connecting public research to the business sector, and they have experience communicating to players from both sides. Their ability to detect the most promising academic research makes them essential partners for young biotech companies like ours. Furthermore, we are keen on collaborating with the academic researchers at the heart of the invention all along the partnership program—we bring the industrial R&D knowledge, they bring years of basic research.
Moreover, in our partnerships we have access to high-level public and private technical platforms as well as clinicians—and with their deep knowledge of patients’ needs and daily clinical practice, they are all complementary to our vision and team. On top of it, we are regularly in contact with pharmaceutical companies to get their feedback on their current strategies and requirements for considering collaborative partnerships for novel therapeutic approaches.
The real strength underpinning our model is our ability to work in an inter-connected environment, where we represent common issues and can address each member’s needs to find a novel therapeutic solution and a potential product. It is the ecosystem of partnerships that drives innovation to higher levels more quickly, effectively and efficiently.
Authors: Luigi Formicola and Keren Bismuth
Luigi Formicola joined 4P-Pharma in 2014 to manage and administrate internal projects and business development activities. He holds a PhD in Morphogenetic and Cytological Sciences from La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
Keren Bismuth joined 4P Pharma in 2016 as scientific communications and documentation manager. She holds a Ph.D. in Neurosciences from University Pierre and Marie Curie , Paris, France.
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