The Role of Public-Sector Research in the Discovery of Drugs and Vaccines

Saturday, 15 February 2014
Grand Ballroom C North (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Ashley Stevens , Focus IP Group, LLC, Boston, MA
Historically, public sector researchers, primarily publicly funded, performed the upstream, basic research that elucidated the underlying mechanisms of disease and identified promising points of intervention, while corporate researchers performed the downstream, applied research that discovered the drugs that would actually treat the diseases and carried out the development activities to bring them to market. 

However, the boundaries between the roles of the public and private sectors have shifted significantly since the dawn of the biotechnology era and the public sector now has a much more direct role in the applied research phase of drug discovery than has previously been realized. 

We show that over the past 30 years, 153 new FDA approved vaccines, drugs and/or new indications for existing drugs were discovered through research carried out in PSRI’s, consisting of 93 small molecule drugs, 36 biologics, 15 vaccines, 8 in vivo diagnostics and one over-the-counter (OTC) drug.  We show that PSRI’s have had the highest impact in cancer and infectious diseases.  Finally, we show that drugs discovered by PSRI’s have a disproportionately high therapeutic impact.  Of the1,541 total FDA approvals in the period 1990-2007, 9.3% resulted from PSRI’s.  Of NME’s which received priority review over this period, 21.1% resulted from PSRI’s.