April 11, 2010

Addressing Barriers to Drug Development MMRC-Style, Susan Kelley, MD

Last week, I was an invited speaker at two related meetings in Washington, DC. Both were attended by colleagues in academia, NIH, the pharmaceutical industry and advocacy so our presence was important and, from all accounts, impactful.

First, the ACRT/SCTS Joint Annual Meeting was the inaugural joint annual meeting of these two societies, and more than 2,500 attended. ACRT is the Association for Clinical Research Training SCTS is the Society for Clinical and Translational Science. Presentations focused primarily on research methodology and efficiencies, standardized approaches, and metrics; many people asked me about the metrics we use to track the speed and efficiency and member engagement in the MMRC. My talk was at the final plenary session. The session title was “ Innovative Models of Partnering For Innovative Medicines for Patients”, chaired by Queta Bond, retired as President of the Borroughs Wellcome Fund. My talk described the MMRC model and our collaborative efforts, as well as some of our metrics, directly related to our abstract published earlier this year in Clinical and Translational Science, Volume 3, April 2010, abstract O-040.

The second meeting was entitle Clinical Research Foundation: Transitions and opportunities in clinical Research. The Clinical Research Forum is comprised of 60 leading academic medical centers. The forum membership meets once a year with industry, private foundations and government to discuss ways to advance the mission of health care and research in the US. This is a small and powerful group of approximately 35 academics, 10 advocacy representative and 5 from NIH and the pharmaceutical industry. My talk was during the session (again chaired by Queta Bond) called "the Critical Role of Building Partnerships Bridging Academia and Patient Group's". The gaps identified by the panelists, representing the different groups at the meeting, were:

  • Approach to indirect costs
  • How to demonstrate ROI
  • How to build academic clinical trial infrastructure that actually delivers and when they should leave it to a CRO and industry
  • How to partner with foundations that are more “radical” in our demand to control data and standards of care, including the expectation that data will be shared and centers of excellence may be recognized and promoted (CFF and MMRF were the examples of radical by the way)
  • How to leverage the ties to industry

Once again, the MMRF and MMRC were recognized as having a highly progressive non-profit model for accelerating drug development, and it was rewarding to see all of the constituencies come together, recognizing that the current system can be improved and that we will only achieve progress with meaningful communication and collaboration.