The Current issue of “The view from here” presents Precompetitive intelligence.

The topic of this month’s newsletter from Drug Discovery Today is “Precompetitive intelligence”.

The days when big Pharma companies operated in glorious isolation, finding their own targets and performing medicinal chemistry in house to find that elusive blockbuster compound are, generally, over. I think I was first introduced to the concept that “all of us are smarter than one of us” by Sidney Taurel, then CEO of Eli Lilly and Company. The idea has been developed and I guess forms the basis of Integrated Thinking, which highlights how successful leaders make decisions (see Rogers (2007)[1]). The ability for companies to look outside of their silos enhances the drug discovery process in terms of generating ideas, identifying targets and reducing redundancy. Sharing information early in the process helps advance the process without necessarily compromising ownership and intellectual property position. Some articles recently published in Drug Discovery Today highlight some of these areas and highlight the benefits of such precompetitive approaches. I hope you enjoy reading them and that they may spark off some new ideas and approaches.  

The first article, by Guillaume Paillard, Philip Cochrane, Philip S. Jones, Willem P. van Hoorn, Andrei Caracoti, Herman van Vlijmen and Andrew D. Pannifer, entitled: “The ELF Honest Data Broker: informatics enabling public–private collaboration in a precompetitive arena” outlines how precompetitive work processes have driven the development of informatics systems capable of supporting the execution and management of such essential processes. In their article, they describe the development of the ELF Honest Data Broker, a cloud-based informatics system from the European Lead Factory (ELF) capable of facilitation and support of the necessary workflows required for such ventures. The ELF is a public-private partnership arising from the Innovative Medicines Initiative, designed to enhance and stimulate early stage precompetitive drug discovery via the discovery of small molecular weight hits against novel biological targets, using their developing Joint European Compound Library (JECL).

Following on from this, the second article, from Anna Karawajczyk, Fabrizio Giordanetto, Jorg Benningshof, Daniel Hamza, Tuomo Kalliokoski, Kees Pouwer, Remy Morgentin, Adam Nelson, Gerhard Müller, Alexander Piechot and Dimitrios Tzalis entitled: “Expansion of chemical space for collaborative lead generation and drug discovery: the European Lead Factory Perspective” which outlines how significant effort and resource is required to develop a compound collection that may be of value for precompetitive purposes. They describe how this has been achieved through harnessing the wide and varied experience of academic groups and SMEs. They describe the chemical and physicochemical properties and value of an early batch of compounds designed for HTS.

Finally, is the article from David M. Andrews, Sébastien L. Degorce, David J. Drake, Magnus Gustafsson, Kevin M. Higgins and Jon J. Winter, of AstraZeneca, entitled: “Compound Passport Service: supporting corporate collection owners in open innovation“. The article discusses how, now that collaborative screening efforts are becoming much more common, there is a need to develop databases that facilitate the identification of origin, ownership rights and usage. The result of this is AstraZeneca’s Compound Passport Service, which is a dynamic database, using learnings from social media, which allows facile and interactive control of compounds within the database by stakeholders. 

Steve Carney was born in Liverpool, England and studied Biochemistry at Liverpool University, obtaining a BSc.(Hons) and then read for a PhD on the Biochemistry and Pathology of Connective Tissue Diseases in Manchester University, in the Departments of Medical Biochemistry and Histopathology. On completion of his PhD he moved to the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, London, where he worked with Professor Helen Muir FRS and Professor Tim Hardingham, on the biochemistry of experimental Osteoarthritis. He joined Eli Lilly and Co. and held a number of positions in Biology R&D, initially in the Connective Tissue Department, but latterly in the Neuroscience Department. He left Lilly to take up his present position as Managing Editor, Drug Discovery Today, at Elsevier. Currently, he also holds an honorary lectureship in Drug Discovery at the University of Surrey, UK. He has authored over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, written several book chapters and has held a number of patents. Currently no news on the tenor horn front.

1.     Martin, Roger (2007). How successful leaders think. Harvard Business Review, 85.6, 60-67. 

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