Health System promotes
new drugs to market is a long and expensive process -- each one
costs industry about $600 million, said Richard Di Rocco, an official
with BTG International Inc. Di Rocco spoke at "Common Ground:
Building Collaborative Partnerships with Industry," a conference
held May 31 by the U.Va.
Health System Development Office to promote collaboration
between scientists in industry and academe.
companies are looking for any advantages they can gain in the
process, such as drugs that appear to be more promising or well
along in the development process, suggesting a faster trip to
market, he said.
where academic medical researchers come in, according to Di Rocco,
whose company assists in technology transfer from universities
to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Businesses are
actively seeking partnerships with medical researchers at universities
around the country to keep their pipelines full of promising new
drugs, technology and medical devices. The demand for new products
is voracious -- and growing, speakers said.
Health System Development Office organized Common Ground to foster
research partnerships by bringing together medical researchers
and business representatives in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical
and medical device industries, said Anne Watkins, director of
corporate and foundation relations. The conference was attended
by nearly 200 people, including faculty scientists, graduate students,
business people and venture capitalists.
enthusiastic response among business participants shows their
high regard for the caliber of medical research conducted at the
University of Virginia," Watkins said. "And the interest
of our faculty members demonstrates our institutional commitment
to bringing research out of the labs and to the bedside where
it can ease suffering."
outlined the University's offices and activities related to research
and discussed successful examples of U.Va.-corporate partnerships.
They also explored current and emerging areas of industry interest
in technology transfer.
participants Janine Jagger, director of the U.Va. International
Health Care Worker Safety Center, and Robert Berne, professor
emeritus of physiology, both said they connected with their corporate
partners through contacts made at similar conferences. Jagger
gave a paper on needle-stick injuries to a gathering that included
corporate representatives and found they were interested in working
with her to improve the safety of their products.
Berne, after many fruitless visits to large pharmaceutical companies,
pitched his new drug idea to a small business owner and a cardiologist
at a conference in Miami more than a decade ago, making the contact
that led to the development of Adenocard, a cardiac drug now in
use in ambulances and emergency rooms across the country and is
currently the largest source of revenues for the U.Va.
The Health System Development Office expects to offer similar
programs in the future. A follow-up conference on Nov. 16 will
focus on the federal government's SBIR/STTR (Small Business Innovation
Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Research) opportunities.
Additional conference information will soon be available on the
Common Ground web site: www.med.virginia.edu/common