Drugmakers contribute to Oxford initiative to prevent costly failed trials

drug target discovery institute oxford (Libertas Academica)

With the news of Baxter's Phase III Alzheimer's drug Gammagard missing its primary endpoints – and thus joining a list of unsuccessful Alzheimer's trials that includes Pfizer and J&J's bapineuzumab – drug manufacturers will be looking for ways to avoid such costly failed trials in the future. As such, Pfizer, J&J, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Novartis AG, Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, AbbVie Inc and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co are each contributing $8 million to a major new collaborative research initiative at Oxford University, reports Bloomberg.

The Target Discovery Institute (TDI) is an initiative that seeks to identify better targets for drug development, and thus prevent the costly development of drugs targeting the wrong biological pathways. The institute aims to link recent advances in genetics, genomics and cell and chemical biology to improve the discovery of druggable targets that exist at critical points in the disease-causing pathway.

"Drug discovery is incredibly expensive, incredibly long-term and incredibly risky," said Chas Bountra, a drug discovery expert and head of the Structural Genomics Consortium. Developing drugs for the wrong targets is "a tragic waste of resources and a tragedy for patients who need medicines that work." The initiative aims to reverse the 90 percent failure rate of drugs in phase 2 clinical trials in humans.

By fostering close collaborations with pharmaceutical and industrial companies, the TDI is looking to link academic research with industrial processes for drug development. You can read about the high throughput screening facilities at the TDI on their website. Do you think this initiative will prevent costly failed trials in the future? Why not join our discussion on LinkedIn, or leave a comment below.

If you want to know more about avoiding the expense of carrying ineffective novel agents into full scale clinical development, you might be interested in attending Exploratory Clinical Development World Europe 2013, 4-6 June 2013, London. Want more from Total BioPharma? Sign up to our newsletter – it doesn't cost anything and only takes a minute.

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