A Home For Clinical Open Innovation at DIA? Reply

In Spreading The Word Or Preaching To the Choir, Mark DeLong shares angst from his 2012 Sage Bionetworks Commons Congress experience:

“..how do we move established institutions like universities and pharmaceutical companies closer to a view of “openness as infrastructure“?

Our attendance at the Sage Congress and more recently the HDI Forum Datapalooza has helped us harmonize among other choir members.  Clinical Open Innovation is about opening up data and providing tools & infrastructure enabling an open knowledge generation system to further drug development – an Open Clinical Intelligence Network.  We’ve been singing the “Openness as infrastructure” hymn in the church of the believers.  The Sage Congress and the Datapalooza – both only 3 years running – were able to pitch their tent without having to convert an existing congregation.

The DIA 2012 conference appears a bit different.  DIA is an old-school (48 years to be exact) conference driven by the health care product industry and it’s institutions:

Join DIA and an anticipated 7,000+ attendees for the largest international multidisciplinary event that brings together a network of professionals to foster innovation in the development of safe and effective health care products.

DIA 2012 provides an invaluable forum for professionals involved in the discovery, development, and life-cycle management of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and related products, including discussion of current and evolving areas such as comparative effectiveness research, health outcomes, and drug-device combination products.

Still, the theme of DIA is Collaborate To Innovate.  There’s a recognition of the need for the industry and it’s institutions to evolve in order to prosper, if not survive.  Numerous accounts of the pharmaceutical industry speak to the need for better patient-centered treatments and the high cost of drug development.  Moving outside traditional walls and thinking is necessary.

Experimenting with Open Innovation techniques is one way to collaborate to drive innovation.   Work in “pre-competitive” spaces like drug discovery is becoming prominent and is bearing fruit.  Pre-competitive in drug R&D has a temporal drug pipeline context, and has come to mean early in the pipeline in areas of pre-clinical research. It’s a valid and valuable approach, and is being proven out by the success of Lilly’s own Open Innovation Drug Discovery efforts.

But what if we expand the thinking?  What if we change “pre-competitive” to “non-competitive,” and consider Open Innovation throughout the R&D pipeline?  What if we take (more and more available) open data and provide tools and constructs to make it useful to better drug development?  There are many areas of clinical drug development that beg for open innovation to reduce costs and increase value to patients.  Investigator identification, site selection, protocol design, recruitment and other processes might benefit from information generated in open networks – and benefit without compromising the necessary intellectual property required to fuel innovation in drug development.  What are the opportunities to do so?

We don’t pretend to have answers to all these questions.  We do have an interest in exploring them with you.  Mark finishes his post with:

“…(the) vision needs a home in places with long histories of research and achievement – places like academic research institutions and university hospitals.”

We think DIA might be a place to find a home for “openness as infrastructure” and Clinical Open Innovation.  Please stop by DIA booth #3428 or drop us a comment to share your thoughts.

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