How To Keep Academic/Big Pharma Alliances from Going off the Rails

11/30/10

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is a must. Further, the decision making inherent in these relationships, such as which projects warrant licensing and which projects warrant additional funding, require dedicated attention by leaders from both academic and industry research groups. Scripps manages this effort with a dedicated alliance manager responsible for coordinating communication with its pharma partners and a shared electronic portal to facilitate information exchange. An alliance manager from our partners does the same.

Ensuring that researchers within both organizations are properly incentivized is also very important. Aligning the interests of academic researchers with the goals of an industry partner can be achieved through access to specialized resources, the opportunity to participate in product development through consulting relationships, or license agreements containing success-based payments. These measures can help to motivate academic researchers, where appropriate, to recognize and actively collaborate on projects of interest to the corporate partner.

When communication is adequate and incentives are aligned, it becomes easier not only to recognize and develop opportunities of mutual interest, but recognize and partner elsewhere those that aren’t-the latter being an essential part of any academic organization’s mission to maximize the impact of federally funded research on human health.

The Scripps Research Institute, along with many of our contemporaries, have found that broad strategic alliances, through the funding and collaborative opportunities they provide, enhance the research capabilities of academic groups-a fundamental benefit central to our mission that make it well worth navigating their inherent challenges.

Scott Forrest is the Senior Director of Business and Technology Development at The Scripps Research Institute. Follow @

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