A new 'religion' at Schering-Plough

Sometimes the most obvious suggestions for improving drug development work are the hardest to anticipate. My initial knee-jerk response to reading the story on Schering-Plough's approach to drug development included a reflexive kick against getting manufacturing and marketing reps into the R&D discussion early on. Too premature, I thought. What promising new therapies get sidetracked because they don't meet the right marketing criteria?

But the criticism won't stand up to reflection. By getting the manufacturing and marketing people engaged early on, they have a much better chance of understanding the complexities of a new therapy long before it's in their hands. We demand more insight from drug companies at every turn, not less. And the new 'religion' at Schering-Plough has clearly turned out to be a winner--a new model for other biopharma companies to watch closely as they try to develop their own winning approach to pipeline development. 

Perhaps the boldest approach to drug discovery includes a willingness to set old prejudices aside. Outdated prejudices have helped create a discovery system that consumes far too much time and money. We need rethink the drug development model. - John Carroll