Eli Lilly sets out to rewrite the R&D playbook

The days of giant R&D organizations orchestrating every step in the development of new drugs have ended. And you need only look at today's Wall Street Journal for another telling example of the trend toward outsourcing and partnering.

For Eli Lilly, the new drug development template involves a partnership between its scientists at Chorus, which designs proof-of-concept clinical trials, and the outside clinical research organizations which conduct the study and gather the data.

For Lilly and other Big Pharma outfits, a long track record of failures in the clinic and the looming expiration of key patents have forced developers to upend the old development model. Peter Tollman at the Boston Consulting Group says that company scientists become too attached to their programs. And that's why Lilly is turning to CROs while GlaxoSmithKline likes to leave early development work to biotech partners and Sanofi-Aventis is leaving the developers it acquires independent of the mother ship.

"Trying to do everything yourself won't work. The odds of owning everything and being at the right place at the right time are not high," Peter Johnson, Lilly's vice president of corporate strategic planning, tells the WSJ.     

- here's the article from the Wall Street Journal