NCI's New Emphasis on Benchtop to Bedside
This article was originally published in Start Up
The private sector, short of funding, is finding NIH a useful source of support. As large-scale biomedical research becomes prevalent and as industry's early-stage R&D productivity falters, both parties have an interest in collaborating more than in the past. But in general, NIH isn't set up to manage the transformation of so many promising discoveries into clinically useful products. It's determined to change that situation with the introduction in October of this year of a "roadmap" for collaborations of many kinds. Even before this event, however, NCI, the largest institute within NIH, had undertaken several public-private programs to expedite development of new products. The institute's experiences illustrate some of advantages and pitfalls of public-private initiatives.
You may also be interested in...
The Wellcome Trust has initiated a new approach to helping accelerate the transformation of scientific research into useful medicines. Through its University Translation Awards and Strategic Translation Awards, the Trust hopes to encourage collaboration between university researchers and tech transfer operations, fill funding and support gaps as they arise, and back high potential, targeted projects that may otherwise have difficulty finding finance.
In cancer diagnostics skepticism and optimism exist side by side. This is evident from a growing dichotomy between the spurt of early research projects, fueled by new technologies and increased government spending, and the lack of investor interest. Despite a brutal financing market and past disappointments, a few start-ups determined to address the field's unmet needs are pursuing development of new markers and detection technologies and gaining momentum.
As scientific innovation in molecular imaging explodes, experts believe the big payoff will be in clinical, rather than research, applications. But absent validating clinical data, businesses remain hesitant to jump into the field.