Culture as a Culprit of the Pharma R&D Crisis

Bruce Booth | Forbes | April 19, 2012

I do think there are reasons to be optimistic. In the startup world, I witness incredible examples of research productivity in a number of our innovative startups, as well as across the early stage ecosystem. I've seen fully characterized Development Candidates come from creative drug discovery efforts for 5-10x less than what it costs in Big Pharma. We've seen Fast-to-PoC approaches for novel targets on a fraction of the cost and time larger organizations would budget for...I'm optimistic that the recent crop of startup companies over the past five years are going to change the picture through more capital efficient, distributed R&D models. Many others share this perception that biotech is doing something right.

What could be driving this productivity advantage?...

Fundamentally, I think the bulk of the last decade's productivity decline is attributable to a culture problem. The Big Pharma culture has been homogenized, purified, sterilized, whipped, stirred, filtered, etc and lost its ability to ferment the good stuff required to innovate. This isn't covered in most reviews of the productivity challenge facing our industry, because its nearly impossible to quantify, but it's well known and a huge issue.

Here are three of the hallmark traits of the culture crisis facing Pharma from my vantage point,,,