New Directions from Academia
Past decades have witnessed remarkable advancements in the field of drug discovery and development as a result of the translational research interaction across industry and academia, with many drugs being discovered due to academia–industry partnerships. Low productivity, increasing research and development costs, a decline in the number of new drug applications approved per year by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), dissipating proprietary products and dwindling pipelines have been the driving forces behind industry academia alliances. But are such partnerships mutually beneficial? While academic researchers help pharmaceutical industries tackle the challenges of drug synthesis because of their capability to think outside the box, the industrialists provide an opportunity to the academicians to translate their initial discoveries into new therapeutics. Such mutual benefits have led to the number of deals of this nature growing almost exponentially over the years. However, both fields are facing a very tough challenge in producing environmentally-suitable substitutes for hazardous chemicals. This is due to the enormous growth in chemical manufacturing with inefficient processes leading to unacceptable levels of chemical pollution. Recent legislation has brought a major change in supply chains, yet there is a need to satisfy the demands of a growing population. This can only be realized by industry–academia collaboration to find sustainable solutions through a reassessment of the entire lifecycle of a chemical product, from various resources to its usage and ultimate fate. The present chapter underscores the need, benefits, impediments and keys to such collaborations, with examples of novel drugs and pathways discovered through effective academic–industrial partnering.