As we move into the Process Innovation era, new ways of developing more effective and safer treatments are required. In 2010, the number of drug approvals hit a record low, and several high profile molecules that had shown promise failed in the late stage of development. This was a huge loss for companies, who invested significant time, resources, and funds into the development of these molecules.

Companies often miss a chance to deliver a better experience for their physician customers. I believe in educating physicians, researchers, and – in OncoSec’s case – medical and surgical oncologists early on to discover the potential product benefits and involving them in the research and preclinical activities. Given changes in regulations and decreased access at the commercial stage, a focus here may provide critical advantage.

Partnering with academia to enhance the quality of research and decrease R&D budget is one promising avenue to develop new and innovative treatments. While not a new idea, working with key opinion leaders and early-career investigators has proved to be exceptionally creative. These researchers are motivated, rooted in groundbreaking research, and focused on high-impact projects. The number of partnerships and new channels have increased over recent years with companies both large and smaller getting involved.

OncoSec’s recent collaboration with Dr. Sara Pai at the Massachusetts General Hospital in a new preclinical research area for cancer vaccines is an example of this type of partnership. Although fairly early in her career, Dr. Pai is a co-author of over 60 publications, a faculty member at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and a leading researcher of HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer. She is a former associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

By partnering with academia and focusing on the early stages of development, companies are ensuring their treatments are medically sound and possess state-of-the-art mechanisms of action. For academia, the benefits lie in access to resources and funding, as well as providing a way of getting molecules out of the laboratory and into the hands of patients.

The statements or opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer OncoSec Medical.

Punit Dhillon