Advances in biology, genetics and molecular biology are creating a watershed moment in medical science. Those of us at the leading edge of research in the life sciences, especially at academic medical institutions, see extraordinary opportunities.
The revolution in biomedical sciences, as reflected in the elaboration of the human genome and an increased understanding of how genes are controlled and how proteins are made and can be changed, presents unprecedented opportunities for the development of new classes of drugs and diagnostic tools. Armed with such new innovations, the medical profession could treat and cure some of the most serious diseases and conditions known to man, improving outcomes and saving and extending millions of lives.
Yet, from the perspective of those on the front line of these discoveries, there is a roadblock preventing these exciting possibilities from becoming reality. In fact there is an enormous disconnect today between the potential of biomedical research coming out of large academic medical centers and the effort needed to translate that science into real, breakthrough drugs.
The problem isnt that pharmaceutical companies dont have large research programs or dont devote enough capital to research. Rather the core of the problem resides within a pharmaceutical industry that, for no fault of its own, has become increasingly risk averse in its business model. Just when their commitment and resources are most needed, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have adopted a more conservative approach to product development.