INSIGHT

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130311 Academic Lab

Building Relationships Between Biotech Corporations and Academia

I believe that integrating academic institutions with the research and development pipeline – and having access to their facilities and research potential – to be of major importance. With the foundation of the biotech industry situated in California and along the West Coast, the location offers an ideal pocket of innovation and growth, within the life science community. The areas of major consideration are the Bay Area, San Diego, and Seattle. These areas not only offer large, committed life science groups and thriving biotech companies and economies but also some of the best educational institutions in North America if not the world, when you look at the life sciences.

At present, California presents America’s largest arena for biotech investments, along with both research and production. A focal point for the success and growth in these areas has come from a strong, mutually profitable relationship with leading academic institutions: a central partner for our industry that allows for an ever-growing synergy of discovery and commercialization. We feel this same type of innovation and collaborative effort is possible in Canada. This affiliation would open up the possibilities for not only research level collaborations but also ones at the clinical level. By attracting some of the best and most accomplished educators, scientists, investors and students, localized environments deeply invested in biotech can allow the industry to thrive for decades.

One method of better accomplishing this academic bridge is by leading towards incubator programs. This is a very effective way for pharmaceutical companies to seek out new, progressive innovations that are in their early stages of development. These companies are looking at a number of tools that can aid in building a robust and pioneering pipeline. In actively pursuing early-stage companies whose research aligns in some way with their existing portfolio, corporations intend on focusing on firms whose technology platforms, drug-based targets or pharmaceutical candidates work hand-in-hand with their own.  This allows them to find new and exciting ways to create partnerships

This avenue of sourcing and collaboration provides start-ups with the resources they need, in order to further their research and development. It also allows established pharmaceutical and life science companies to develop stronger relationships with smaller groups whose innovations align with their own strengths. By doing so, a great synergy can be created that bridges the gap between large corporate investment and emerging research and development techniques. Developing these mutually beneficial relationships not only benefits the two mentioned parties but also the general public, as better targeted and more effective treatment options become more readily available, instead of losing steam due to a lack of funding.

Universities can be a major resource in a company’s innovation strategy and we are very pleased at OncoSec to be working with a handful of the premier universities in the country, with cutting edge efforts in oncology.   To name a few:

  • University of California San Francisco, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Stanford University, Stanford Medicine, Cancer Institute
  • University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • University of South Florida, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Institute
  • Old Dominion University

Our experience at OncoSec has been a very positive one. University collaboration has not only resulted in creating unique opportunities – such as the initiation of our clinical trials for the current clinical indications in our development pipeline – but the relationships have also provided guidance for the direction of our technology and product development. In many ways, from a business standpoint, the relationships that allow academic institutions to provide a research outcome are only one of the components of importance. At OncoSec, we have several important university collaborations and relations. The importance for us is not only the outcome but also the impact — how the new knowledge derived from a collaboration with a university can contribute to our future development efforts and, ultimately, our performance. Are new therapeutic product opportunities made possible? New and more effective treatment processes? Novel innovations and optimization of our delivery platform? Intellectual property, clinical know-how, or processes that enhance competitive advantage?

At OncoSec, we are committed to building a community that includes industry professionals, researchers, academics, advocates and citizens.  This symbiosis of different constituents is what makes our company unique in making novel treatments and providing a solution for patients.  I look forward to updating more on some of these different relationships that OncoSec is establishing.

You can get involved with our communities on Facebook or Twitter. I also have a personal Twitter account, for updates on conferences I am attending and updates on our objectives and interactions.