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Advancing Pharmaceutical R&D





Industry and academia have been collaborating for decades, but, historically, those relationships did not tend to extend far beyond the traditional exchange of funding and research. The nature of these relationships has evolved significantly over the last 20-30 years as universities have become more commercially aware and the industry seeks to protect its market share through innovation. In the modern climate of economic and political uncertainty, it is vital that healthy relationships with industry partners and leading research universities are developed that are conducive to discovery-driven innovation with real world applications. Despite the clear need to bridge the divide, scepticism must be overcome for the two partners to truly communicate and collaborate effectively to achieve their shared goals.

PMPS: Historically, the relationship between the pharma industry and academia has not been straightforward. How has this changed recently and what do you see as the biggest challenge facing this partnership?

David Harris: Twenty-five years ago, academia was not as commercially aware as it is now. This can make the relationship with industry more challenging now as universities are increasingly driven by intellectual property (IP) ownership or rights. Where previously there were collaborations between the pharma industry and academia to win grants for new research projects, concerns over IP can make this a much less attractive option for both parties. This shift has been most visible in the growth of the technology transfer departments in universities.


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About the authors


David Harris is Founder and Chief Technology Officer for Cambridge Healthcare Innovations. David has been working in the field of respiratory drug delivery since 1994. He is a qualified physicist who specialises in fluid mechanics, aerosol science, and their application to inhaler devices. Since 2002, he has worked for Cambridge-based medical device consultancies, and now leads Cambridge Healthcare Innovations. He is widely published in the field, and his current interests focus around the characterisation of lung function and the future of inhaled medicine.

Dr Hugh Smyth is the Hamm Endowed Faculty Fellow and Professor of Pharmaceutics with Tenure at the University of Texas, US. Hugh is also an Adjunct Associate Scientist at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute. He is the Editor in Chief of Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy. He has a Pharmacy and a PhD degree from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Hugh has been a faculty member at the University of North Carolina, US, and at the University of New Mexico, US. He was the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists New Investigator award winner for Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technologies in 2007 and also received the PhRMA Foundation New Investigator Award in pharmaceutics in 2007.

Dr Joanne Peart is an Affiliate Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy, US. Joanne co-organises and co-edits the proceedings of the international conference series Respiratory Drug Delivery. She has a degree in Pharmacy and PhD in Pharmaceutics from the University of Bath, UK. She was previously an Associate Professor in the Aerosol Research Group at VCU from 1996-2013, where her research focused upon the formulation and electrostatic characterisation of pharma aerosols.

Dr David Lewis is Aerosol Science Director at Chiesiís research centre in Chippenham, UK. He holds a BSc in Physics (1989) and MSc and PhD in Aerosol Science (1990 and 1994) from Essex University, UK. David joined the Centre for Drug Formulation Studies at Bath University, UK, in May 1996 to lead a start-up HFA programme sponsored by Chiesi Farmaceutici. The resultant successful development of HFA solution formulations led to a rapid expansion of his group, which transferred to Vectura in 1999 as a result of CDFS spin-out by the University of Bath. David joined Chiesi Limited in 2008 and established the UK Research Centre in Chippenham, UK, which opened in July 2009. He has authored over 130 research publications within the fields of pharmaceutics, analytical chemistry, and aerosol science, and is co-inventor of 30 patents relating to pressurised metered dose inhaler formulations and devices.
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