I attended a BIO 2012 “super session” this afternoon moderated by my friend Margaret Anderson, executive director of Washington, DC-based Faster Cures, a leading advocacy group to “improve the medical research enterprise.”
Margaret led a panel of the top people from NIH, FDA, Harvard Medical School, Lilly Research Laboratories and Sanofi, who each presented a perspective on “pre-competitive collaboration.” In other words, let’s work together under a flag of truce. (That is, until somebody fires the first shot.)
“Pre-competitive collaboration” means that companies who guard their secrets today should instead pull back the veil a little to work in synergy with competitors who would otherwise want to eat their lunch today and dinner tomorrow.
Unsurprisingly, each expert shed a few fresh insights, but generally much we’ve all heard before with regard to how expensive, unwieldy and slow typical clinical trials still are.
Rather than recite or summarize everything shared, suffice to say I devoted about 90 minutes to a session in which everyone on stage agreed that things are bad, that more and much earlier collaboration and sharing of data needs to be done, and how progress against disease state after disease state suffers because we’re not talking with one another soon enough in the process. From obesity to lack of optimal pain management, from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease, the panelists fretted about the challenges and generally agreed that the best hope is earlier, smarter and perhaps more courageous (my word) collaboration.