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Drug Discovery News - Kevin Lustig Talks About Outsourcing Oncology

Maria Thompson on August 19, 2013

This month Drug Discovery News published Dr. Kevin Lustig’s editorial discussing how outsourcing is a viable strategy for advancing oncology research.

DDN August 2013:
Oncology outsourced: An emerging research model
By Kevin Lustig, Scientist

In spite of advances in biology and medicine, cancer remains a major unmet clinical need. In the pharmaceutical and biotechnology worlds, cancer research is focused primarily on diagnostic tool development and target-based drug discovery. Diagnostic tests play an important role in patient stratification for treatment and for monitoring therapeutic benefit. The reductionist target-based drug discovery approach enables a more effective, personalized approach to clinical treatment.

The name of the game for drug research today is outsourcing.

Fortunately for us, the chances for meaningful advances in these areas are never higher than today. Over the past decade, we have witnessed the dawn of the ‘omics era and the advent of Big Data. Emerging technologies like next-generation sequencing and innovative analytical tools such as network analysis have improved our understanding of basic cancer pathophysiology. What remains is translating this knowledge from the bench to the bedside.

Although academic and government research institutions and, increasingly, nonprofit research foundations, contribute to the search for new diagnostics and therapeutics, the bulk of cancer research is carried out by the pharmaceutical industry. In the past few years, however, multiple factors including decreased productivity, higher costs and the ongoing patent cliff have made drug research in the pharmaceutical industry unsustainable in its current format. As a consequence, newer models of science and business are replacing the fully integrated pharmaceutical company (FIPCO) model that is quickly becoming a relic of the past. Evolving technology has allowed and even driven this shift. The name of the game for drug research today is outsourcing.