At a technical meeting recently, I attended a
Special Interest Group forum on the Barriers
to Academic Drug Discovery– cultures, constraints
and motivations. Discussions like this define academic
and industrial government working space and tactics.
Pharma-industry and academia prefers
‘quick kills‘, longer term horizons,
exploring in depth
portfolios, research for the next
grant [initial results showing
timelines &, personal discovery and
efficient innovation, intellectual leaps.
Striking stories where unexpected, quantum leap
discoveries in academic labs have led to incredible
commercial leaps. like Thomas Brock and Hudson
Freeze’s 1969 discovery of Thermus aqauticus Taq,
a bacterium in the hotsprings of Yellowstone. Its DNA
polymerase has uniquely evolved to survive Yellowstone’s
hot springs. This enzyme is the prototype for Kary
Mullis’s polymerase chain reaction that has transformed
modern life from legal systems to advanced therapies
Discussion covered journal publication, but too often
contains unrealiable data, only successes get into
print, when failures might be even more valuable.
Reliable databases with common easy to manipulate
formats was another forum topic.