Open innovation – a collaboration between academia and the pharmaceutical industry to further leverage drug discovery expertise and assets
Increasing numbers of companies in the pharma industry are consolidating their services and outsourcing to CROs to reduce business costs. AstraZeneca’s Marian Preston, David Murray and Mark Wigglesworth discuss how this can not only drive innovation but also prove successful in identifying lead compounds, as evidenced through recent collaborations.
THE HIGH-THROUGHPUT screening (HTS) landscape has seen significant changes over the past decade. Where previously large pharmaceutical companies had multiple HTS groups located at R&D sites across the world, the current model sees many with just a single global screening centre and, in some instances, HTS groups closed altogether in favour of outsourcing large-scale screening to contract research organisations (CROs). These changes have been driven by measures to improve efficiencies, company reorganisations and portfolio refocusing and has meant that in 2019, following GlaxoSmithKline’s closure of the Harlow site in 2010 and Pfizer’s exit of the Sandwich research facility in 2011, AstraZeneca (AZ) has the only remaining pharma HTS group in the UK. Prior to this, AZ had also reduced from four global screening sites in 2010 to a single HTS centre by 2012. Yet advances in drug discovery are dependent on identification of chemical starting points for discovery projects and HTS remains the cornerstone of this operation across the pharmaceutical industry.1-3
AstraZeneca (AZ), Cancer Research Technology, Cancer Research UK (CRUK), European Lead Factory, GlaxoSmithKline, Labcyte/Waters, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool University, Medical Research Council (MRC), Medicines Discovery Catapult, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health (NIH), Pfizer, Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS), UK Centre for Lead Discovery (UKCLD)