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Translational Research – Public Private Partnerships

Translational Medicine

Translational Research – Public Private Partnerships

As stated in the NIH Road map for medical research, translational research has proven to be a powerful process that drives the clinical research engine. This requires fuel (finance) to burn and a strong research infrastructure which can strengthen and accelerate this critical part of the clinical research enterprise.

The Regional Development Agency, Advantage West Midlands in the science city of Birmingham has rightly recognized that universities are important sources of innovation, in the ways that they support existing businesses, spin out new businesses and provide highly trained people.[1] This has led to a joint award of almost £20 million to the Universities of Warwick and Birmingham to strengthen and upgrade the translational medicine facilities available at these institutions.

Such funding opportunities towards translational medicine initiatives can go a large way in research capacity building. It aims to develop skills and confidence, support linkages and partnerships, ensures the research is close to practice, develop appropriate dissemination, invest in infrastructure, and build elements of sustainability and continuity. [2]

Collaboration between the industry and academia can resolve the difficulties faced in translating discovery into practice. Apart from providing collaboration in infrastructure building, funding from either side can safeguard public interest at large. A predominant industry sponsorship may tend to incline research towards big pharma gains but public funding can be expected to focus research in the areas of unmet need.

Such collaborative efforts can increase the knowledge base and resources with for example the academia, providing a broad view of assays, while the industry providing the necessary instrumentation and other infrastructure for efficient testing.

In India as well, there are many partnerships between the public institutions and the industry. One such collaboration is the Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme (BIPP), a government partnership with Industries for public support on a cost sharing basis.

Mobile clinical trials units are an innovative mechanism to increase research capacity of a region. Such mobile units were launched by Penn Medicine in 2007 in West Philadelphia. These were designed on research showing that clinical trials are most effective when community-based, the custom-built medical vehicle, with two fully-equipped exam rooms and a waiting area, travels to areas of West Philadelphia with high rates of HIV. [3]This model if used in the developing countries like India with a large and diverse patient pool can go a long way in strengthening the clinical trials industry.

 

Primarily driven by the decline in novel therapeutics, translational medicine involves a wide range of scientific areas for a more sustained, integrated approach bringing stakeholders and shareholders closer to reduce the risk in innovation.

 

References

[1] Advantage West Midlands, www.euris-programme.eu/docs/bspa_birmingham (Accessed 14th Jun. 2015)

[2] Cooke J, A framework to evaluate research capacity building in health care. BMC Fam Pract. 2005;6:44.

[3] Simply because, a 2007 community report, http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/publications/Penn_Medicine_Community_Benefit_07.pdf (Accessed 14th Jun. 2015)

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