The following post is by Ken Savin, Advisor to Special Projects and Innovation Small Molecule Design and Development at Eli Lilly and Company. Ken received his Ph.D. from the University of Utah in 1996 and came to Lilly in 1998 from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Center as a senior organic chemist. He worked on several projects as a medicinal chemist in the areas of anxiety, depression and inflammatory disorders, and he has been involved in many cross-functional Lilly research collaborations. Ken is currently in the Small Molecule Design and Development organization working on special projects around technology and innovation. The latest efforts he has engaged in include the NASA – Lilly collaboration, an outgrowth of the InnoCentive program and a recent Innovation Day event. Through these programs, he continues to reach out to other organizations internally and externally as part of a broader open innovation effort.
It’s been understood for quite some time that drug development has become too costly and too uncertain. It takes too long and doesn’t meet the needs of patients well enough. Traditional models of innovation—where managers are responsible for coming up with ideas and employees carry out those programs—are not sustainable. It doesn’t allow us to take advantage of the wide breadth of knowledge and talent that scientists, patients and citizens both inside and outside of Lilly possess. That’s why Lilly is working to uncover more opportunities for innovation through initiatives like Innovation Day (I-Day).