|By Connor, Lee Lusardi|
Whether they are big or small, collaboration is the new trend for life sciences companies looking to do business in NJ.
There was a time when the preferred mode for life sciences companies was to be the strong, silent type: self-reliant, independent, secretive.
With that approach, companies didn't have to share the glory - or the profits - that came with conquering industry frontiers.
These days, those cowboy corporations are actively seeking - well, pardners. Small and big companies are collaborating with each other and with educational institutions, joining forces across the boundaries of the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device fields.
It's a national trend, with
"Partnering is really the way the industry has grown in recent years," said
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"Companies seek partnerships for specific reasons," said
Life sciences companies are increasingly rejecting diversification in favor of consolidation around a core business, Nader said, resulting in the need to outsource key functions. Those can include anything from a portion of research and development - such as discovery - to the entire R&D function, marketing and sales or manufacturing.
In 2007, Nader and his team at NPS, then a company on the brink of insolvency, decided to let go of anything not core to the business. They narrowed their focus to this definition: developing and commercializing products for rare diseases for which there are no other treatments. It was a gutsy strategy that involved extensive layoffs and the closing of facilities, he said, but ultimately led to success with the development of drugs for rare gastrointestinal and endocrine disorders.
"With this mission, we made a deliberate decision not to be in manufacturing," Nader said. "That meant we had to strike partnerships with a number of manufacturers, some in
In order to be sure it selects appropriate partners, NPS has developed a list it calls "the 10 C's" - such as cultural fit, clarity of controls and credibility - to use as a filter.
Across the life sciences sector, technology is not only driving collaborations but making them possible through the new ease of sharing data. In fact, many cutting-edge products virtually mandate the creation of a partnership between a pharmaceutical and a medical device company - for example, self-injectable syringes that are preloaded with a precise amount of a drug.
"There's been such a rapid pace of change in life sciences that things are getting mixed and matched in different ways," said
Now it does, and the combination of "therapeutics" and "diagnostics" describes the hot new field of personalized medicine, in which diagnostic testing at the molecular level determines which patients will benefit from a given treatment. In this space,