Background: Drug development traditionally has relied upon the complementary contributions of clinicians and scientists at academic institutions and at pharmaceutical companies. Greater regulatory burdens, increased bureaucratic requirements, restricted reimbursement, and spiralling research and development costs are exerting pressure on the drug development pipeline. The result is a de-emphasis of exploratory research, particularly independent academic research, despite its proven value in identifying new drug targets and developing innovative cancer therapies.
Design: An expert panel assembled by the Biotherapy Development Association-a nonprofit international forum for academic and industry researchers, patients, and government regulatory and postregulatory agencies-examined the growing schism between academia and industry and identified several causes of declining academic research.
Results: The authors propose solutions to sustain investigator-initiated research and provide a new model whereby expert organisations provide a forum for academia and industry to plan studies within a regulatory framework to support licensure/authorisation and reimbursement for new molecularly targeted agents and biomarkers.
Conclusions: Investigator-initiated trials have led to the discovery and development of innovative, safe, and effective cancer treatments. To ensure that such research continues, action will be required on the parts of legislative and regulatory bodies, industry, universities, patient advocacy organisations, and preclinical and clinical academic scientists.