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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

BIOMEDICAL INNOVATION Curing Consortium Fatigue Magdalini Papadaki and Gigi Hirsch*

Biomedical innovation is complex, expensive, and risky, and emerging science and technology have created tantalizingly high expectations. Converting innovation into health value in a timely, cost-effective, and sustainable manner requires a capacity for collaboration across disciplines, organizations, and nations. As we move forward with plans for major new multistakeholder initiatives, these alliances need to be evaluated with—and informed by—the same degree of rigor as other critical enablers of translational science, creating a timely opportunity for the advent of a new discipline focused on the science of collaboration.


In the past decade, diverse stakeholders have launched numerous collaborations in the global pharmaceutical industry in an attempt to address challenges to biomedical innovation. Since its inception in 2008, the largest multistakeholder effort—the European Union’s Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI; www.imi.europa.eu)—has established more than 40 consortia with financial and in-kind investments totaling €2 billion; IMI is now contemplating new collaborations and substantial scaling of investments to nearly €3.5 billion through the proposed Horizon 2020 innovation framework. Aligned with global trends, the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) recommended formation of a U.S. counterpart to IMI (www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-fda-final.pdf). The prevalence of multistakeholder initiatives reflects a continued optimism about the value of this collaboration approach for addressing biomedical innovation bottlenecks.

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