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Public - Private Partnerships

In recent years, biopharmaceutical companies have formed a growing number of partnerships with researchers in government, academia, smaller companies, and other parts of the biomedical ecosystem. As scientists have probed deeper into the causes and signs of disease the amount of information that is available has exploded, but making sense of all this data is a colossal undertaking that no single individual or, increasingly, no single institution can handle alone. 

As a result, scientists from across the biomedical enterprise are increasingly working together to share, organize and make sense of huge volumes of information. This close and synergistic relationship between sectors in the biomedical research ecosystem is critical to ensuring a robust national biomedical research capacity in the United States.


The Tufts University Center for the Study of Drug Development recently conducted an analysis of more than 3,000 partnerships of biopharmaceutical companies with academic medical centers (AMCs).[i]  The analysis found that the partnerships benefit both industry and academia by providing opportunities for the sectors to work together to explore promising new technologies and address scientific problems that may lead to breakthroughs in treatments for the most challenging diseases and conditions. According to a report by PwC’s Health Research Institute, “all large pharmaceutical companies have established at least one AMC partnership, often specific to a disease,” and the number of partnerships is rising as the industry adopts a more collaborative approach to R&D.[ii] 


These relationships vary significantly and are continually evolving. Common partnership models include unrestricted research support, academic drug discovery centers, and pre-competitive research centers, which incorporate a collaborative research model that brings together various institutions that ordinarily are commercial competitors to perform early-stage research collectively.


[i]C.P. Milne and A. Malins. “Academic–Industry Partnerships for Biopharmaceutical Research & Development: Advancing Medical Science in the U.S.” Boston, MA: Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, April 2012.

[ii]PwC Health Research Institute. “New Chemistry: Getting the Biopharmaceutical Talent Formula Right.” New York, NY: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, February 2013.