Three of the biggest pharma companies on the planet are joining forces to back an unusual venture aimed at developing "breakthrough" discovery technology that can reduce the frequency of trial failures and save them huge amounts of money. Eli Lilly, Merck and Pfizer--which often compete on new therapies--are joining forces with PureTech Ventures to provide $39 million to finance the launch of Enlight Biosciences. Enlight in turn plans to spin off new companies if the technology looks promising enough. Some of the new technologies the collaboration will explore include finding ways to deliver drugs across the blood-brain barrier and new biomarkers.
"Today, drug discovery is tremendously tech-dependent, and many of the pharmaceutical companies are falling behind," Enlight co-founder Raju Kucherlapati, a genetics professor at Harvard Medical School, told the Wall Street Journal.
"The biopharmaceutical industry has a great need for innovative enabling technologies that will catalyze fundamental transformation of the drug discovery and development process. A collaborative entrepreneurial initiative such as Enlight that is dedicated to such technological innovation in R&D meets that need in an ideal way. We are excited about our partnership with Enlight and its team of world-renowned scientists," said Dr. Steven Paul, the executive vice president, science and technology, at Eli Lilly.