UK pharma czar sees new "innovation ecosystem" R&D model emerge

Richard Barker has just stepped down from the top spot in the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry with some decided opinions about the changing face of the R&D side of the business. He underscores the major shift away from research silos toward an "innovation ecosystem," in which pharma companies stop relying only on their in-house development empires as they move to a brave new world that mixes the corporate crowd with academic groups as well as small and medium-sized biotechs.

"We're moving progressively from a model where most of the large companies did most of their research and development internally to an innovation ecosystem model," he tells The Telegraph. "So it becomes increasingly important for the large companies to work closely with universities, research charities and small and medium-sized enterprises in the discovery adventure."

Signs of this new ecosystem are abundant, from the ongoing stream of partnerships and buyouts of promising development programs to a flurry of pacts linking biopharma with universities like Harvard, Yale and UC San Francisco. And the failure of big M&A deals to deliver on the innovation front, Baker adds, is helping to drive this trend.

"Mergers solve some problems, but not others. For example, they can make better use of commercial infrastructure. What it doesn't do is improve research and development productivity. What improves productivity is some of the new approaches, an ability or willingness to redesign the development process."

- here's the story from The Telegraph