Updated on 20 June 2014
The consortium may work on how to gauge the wide variation in patient reactions
Singapore: A new research consortium led by the Indiana University School of Medicine and Eli Lilly and Co could bring in $25 million to $50 million over five years to create a new approach for developing drugs.
The idea of the consortium is to pool data from large numbers of patients from five to ten academic medical centers. This is being done to identify small groups of patients, who, while they may be diagnosed with the same disease, have different causes or whose diseases develop differently than the norm. Identifying these subgroups of patients could yield insights on how drugs might be used to stop or treat a disease.
"The old pharmaceutical R&D model is becoming increasingly more expensive and impossible to deliver effectively. This is because patients are complex," said Dr Anantha Shekhar, a professor at the IU medical school. "We can create a new model for finding the next generation of medicines," he added.
The consortium, formally known as the Strategic Pharma-Academic Research Consortium for Translational Medicine, or SPARC, will receive funding from Indianapolis-based Lilly, Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals International and potentially one other pharmaceutical company. The funding will likely range from $5 million to $10 million each year, depending on the projects the consortium does each year, said Mr Shekhar.
He further explained that creating a consortium is key to developing a new R&D model for drug companies. "Individual companies do not have convenient access to the one million patients it may take to identify a subgroup of patients with diseases that do not fit the standard pattern," he said.