Cardiovascular Drug Discovery in the Academic Setting: Building Infrastructure, Harnessing Strengths, and Seeking Synergies
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- Gardell, S.J., Roth, G.P. & Kelly, D.P. J. of Cardiovasc. Trans. Res. (2010) 3: 431. doi:10.1007/s12265-010-9204-8
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The flow of innovative, effective, and safe new drugs from pharmaceutical laboratories for the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease has slowed to a trickle. While the need for breakthrough cardiovascular disease drugs is still paramount, the incentive to develop these agents has been blunted by burgeoning clinical development costs coupled with a heightened risk of failure due to the unprecedented nature of the emerging drug targets and increasingly challenging regulatory environment. A fuller understanding of the drug targets and employing novel biomarker strategies in clinical trials should serve to mitigate the risk. In any event, these current challenges have evoked changing trends in the pharmaceutical industry, which have created an opportunity for non-profit biomedical research institutions to play a pivotal partnering role in early stage drug discovery. The obvious strengths of academic research institutions is the breadth of their scientific programs and the ability and motivation to “go deep” to identify and characterize new target pathways that unlock the specific mysteries of cardiovascular diseases—leading to a bounty of novel therapeutic targets and prescient biomarkers. However, success in the drug discovery arena within the academic environment is contingent upon assembling the requisite infrastructure, annexing the talent to interrogate and validate the drug targets, and building translational bridges with pharmaceutical organizations and patient-oriented researchers.