Getting the Most out of External Collaborations

Dial-a-Molecule was represented at a Royal Society of Chemistry Precompetitive Workshop entitled “Getting the most out of external collaborations” held in London on 28th March 2011. The meeting was organised by Dr David Fox of Pfizer and Dr Ellen Friel of the Royal Society of Chemistry. David, who is a Visiting Senior Industrial Fellow at the RSC, is a member of the Dial-a-Molecule steering group. The aim of the workshop was to discuss how the open innovation agenda impacts on interactions between and amongst the pharmaceutical industry and academia. Around 60 delegates were present, representing over 15 companies, 14 Universities, and funding agencies including EPSRC, BBSRC, MRC and the TSB. The day featured plenary presentations from Will Barton, the Head of Technology at the TSB, and Malcolm Skingle, the Director of Academic Liaison at GSK, as well as supporting talks describing exemplar case studies of different collaboration models, and networking poster sessions, including one on Dial-a-Molecule presented by Steve Marsden. The outcome of the meeting is organisation of five working groups listed at the end of this article. Each of these areas impacts upon Dial-a-Molecule, either in terms of driving new demands on molecular synthesis, or in changing the way we think about establishing collaborations to achieve these goals. The groups will be meeting for the first time shortly to discuss how to drive the areas forward, and we will report back on any future developments from the working groups in future updates. Anyone interested in getting involved in the networks should contact Dr Ellen Friel at the RSC.

Working groups (Dial-a-Molecule steering group members on the groups shown in parentheses):

  • 1) Establishment of a national compound screening bank (Joe Sweeney);
  • 2) Developing a more effective communication bridge across pharma, SMEs and academia (Stephen Hillier);
  • 3) Translational chemical synthesis (Steve Marsden, Joe Sweeney);
  • 4) A shared model for collaborative agreements (David Hollinshead);
  • 5) A model for supporting better interactions with SME companies (David Hollinshead and Stephen Hillier).