Big Pharma's Last Refuge

Bill Frezza | Bio IT World | September 27, 2011

In the previous issue of Bio•IT World (July/August 2011), my fellow columnist Ernie Bush posed the question, what are the limits to collaboration among pharmaceutical companies? This same question was faced by the telecommunications industry in 1913, albeit during an era of ascendancy and not senescence. This led to a solution that lasted 70 years. Could history repeat itself?

As patent cliffs are crossed, research budgets are slashed, and early-stage projects are abandoned, the survivors of Big Pharma’s golden age wonder, which dinosaur will swallow whom? Meanwhile analysts examine opportunities to reduce redundancy and inefficiency by eliminating “wasteful competition.” For example, why replicate the costs of conducting early safety studies to validate new targets when these might be done in a target validation consortium? But as Ernie went on to ask, why stop there? What about collaborating through Phase II and Phase III clinical trials?...