- Biopharma companies are more open than ever before to collaborating with their peers, according to a new report from Deloitte that documents a sharp increase in the number of science-focused, early-stage R&D partnerships over the past decade.
- The consultancy found evidence of an industry-wide shift away from traditional, narrowly focused asset-based partnerships and a move towards more collaborative research-based alliances and joint ventures.
- From 2005 to 2014, for example, the number of R&D consortia grew by a factor of nine, while the number of early-stage partnerships doubled.
Changes in how the industry partners and develops new drugs can affect the broader biopharma ecosystem, including players from academic centers to contract researchers and manufacturers.
"There is a major shift underway as stakeholders move from traditional asset-based partnerships, typically involving two parties which are focused on advancing a particular asset (i.e., investigational medicine), to collaborative, non-asset-based alliances," the report said.
According to Deloitte's researchers, these new partnerships are increasingly focused on advancing the science underpinning a specific therapeutic area rather than moving a single asset through development stages.
That emphasis can be seen in the increasing number of partnerships formed around advancing discovery, research and pre-clinical work.
"Based on the research findings, it is clear that other members of the R&D ecosystem are increasingly working with biopharmaceutical companies through pre-competitive, multi-party collaborations and shared-incentive partnerships," the researchers wrote.
TransCelerate BioPharma, a consortium established by 10 biopharma companies in 2012, is one example. Eighteen companies now take part in the pre-competitive collaboration, aiming to advance new clinical-data standards or risk-based monitoring.
Contractors can play a role in this too, joining in to develop new ways of running trials and managing drug programs.
Japanese drugmaker Takeda, for example, last fall partnered with the contract research organization PRA Health Sciences to improve the management of its clinical studies. The two have since expanded the agreement to create an equally owned joint venture to assist Takeda in clinical and pharmacovigilance work in Japan.