All of our industry partnerships to date have been a result of either me reaching out to a company that had a pipeline or compound already in existence that mechanistically had the potential to correct these dysfunctions, or they had heard of our work and approached us. It’s so exciting to work with industry partners. So far, most of that’s been pharma.
When we approach, sometimes there’s interest and sometimes there’s not, or we think is this something that we can expand? Is there an approach to bring more of those opportunities along? This has been so productive and so exciting, and I’d like to see more of those opportunities come. The question is, do we just keep going along or do I bring it to the next level somehow?
“There are probably people listening to this that have already done this and know about it … please reach out to me because I’m at the learning stage.”
My only thought so far, even though I’m not sure if a CRO would make a big difference, is the factors I’m looking for and the factors I’d like to learn about. Will it accelerate discovery, an identification of new potential therapies that is following a process that works for progression to clinical trials with industry partners? You can discover a compound, and you can probably go buy any compound that you want that’s commercially available and tested, but how are you going to progress that to actually test the people? You need industry and clinical partners.
How does a CRO bring those all together? Is it just marketing and branding, or are there other factors? Will it also bring in more resources, people, technology, and funding? I’m learning about that, but in all of this, it also has to achieve the second objective of helping the students.
“Students are number one right up there with the discovery, and the feedback I’ve gotten from the students is they love to see someone that’s not just in our group, and that wasn’t a negative. I’m actually paraphrasing them. As far as I know, they’re pretty happy in the lab. They say they’re happy in the lab, but the value to the students has been to fly to a company, to Zoom with a company, to meet a clinician.”
Now, I could just have meetings with these partners, but why would I do that? First of all, I can’t remember everything they remember–they’re the experts. Secondly, this is an opportunity for a student to learn with me about the translation process and build networks. One student was flown down to the United States to meet a company partner and in the evenings, they got to speak with medical science liaisons who weren’t part of our collaboration, and they learned about careers they didn’t know before. Why wouldn’t I keep doing this? If a CRO brings more of that for the students, so long as it doesn’t take away the experience that we currently have with our system, then this is good. I think it will just bring more in. Long answer about my uncertainties, but two guiding principles.