Posting in Design
Drexel University's College of Medicine has launched a Drug Discovery and Development program meant to train future pharmaceutical industry research professionals.
Described by its creators as the first of its kind, Drexel University's College of Medicine launched last fall a Drug Discovery and Development program, meant to train future pharmaceutical research professionals. Designed for graduate students, the now single course is set to expand into a degree-granting program that would help students understand the pharmaceutical industry -- preparing them for careers in the field.
The program is directed by Dr. James Barrett, who previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry and now chairs Drexel's pharmacology and physiology department. We spoke yesterday about the new program.
Why is this program necessary and why now?
I recognized the unmet need that exists within a university to help people make an easy transition into the pharmaceutical industry. It's extraordinarily complex. There are many different disciplines that have to work together.
Talk about the changes in the pharmaceutical industry that, in your view, make this program necessary.
Everything is accelerated in terms of the pace, but the companies have had their pipelines dry up. Companies are going to continue to try to develop drugs, but the context in which they do that is going to change. They haven't been successful in the past several years -- despite the advances in all the technologies -- in bringing new products to market. So where will this be done? It's going to be done in academic centers. One of the problems with major pharmaceutical companies is that they establish timelines. You can't move science by quarterly earnings. What's not possible in the industry these days is a long-term perspective. One thing academic science can do is provide a longer-term perspective. And I think you'll see or hear that many companies are now looking to see how they can bridge academic and industrial collaborations to fill their pipelines.
So, in your view, there will be more partnerships between the pharmaceutical industry and academic institutions and the students in your program will be on the ground in that partnership.
That's right. Although we're still relatively young in setting this up, we would like to have cooperative relationships with pharmaceutical companies whereby our students can go out and spend three months or six months working in the industry, so that they not only get the classroom education, but they also get the direct hands-on experience of what it's like to work in a pharmaceutical company. And then they finish their degree and ideally they would think about a post-doctoral fellowship or a position in industry or the applied technology sector.
Talk about the classroom work the students in the program do.
We take them through the evolution of a [drug] compound. Part of the course is to give a historical perspective, but we move pretty quickly into what people in the industry do first and that's to pick a target for a specific disease. We try to cut across lots of different disciplines. Most of these lectures are done by people in the industry. We have medicinal chemists talk about how they synthesize compounds against their target and how they think about designing a drug that'll hit that particular target. Then, [the students] move into how they're going to study it in an animal model. You have somebody come in and talk about drug metabolism and safety and toxicology. Once you pass all that, you're going to go to the FDA. We give [the students] guidelines from the FDA in terms of submitting a new investigational drug application. Then, the drug approval process: We have somebody give a live session of an advisory committee evaluating a company's product. We end up with the post-marketing period.
Photo: Courtesy of Dr. James Barrett
Feb 8, 2010
what it REALLY sounds like is social engineering more than drug or academic program development. The drug companies are getting a bad rap across the board from seniors on pricing to families that who's perception is they need an "orphan" drug. Nobody likes the drug companies anymore. THAT'S what this program is about. The softer side of big pharma.
and dr barrett is a horse's patoot. universities hire guys like that to screw up the works. just like cornell univ hiring one of the big wigs from bears stern to teach business, after he was one of the people who caused the company to go into banckruptcy and disappear into the evening news. what can he teach students, how to lie and cheat? he also wrote a piece praising calvin coolidge for being one of our best presidents, and along with herbert hoover responsible fo the great depression. that will give you an idea of this guy's academic credentials. i am sure thetbarrett is more of the same .
this is an example of what is wrong with our present day universities. instead of academic pursuita the universities have become big business and are pursuing profit rather than thinking and logic. the pharmaceutical companies do not need the help of academia. they have the old standby, profits as a percent of sales, which now average 20% as opposed to a nominal 5% for all other manufacturing businesses; and this is after all expenses are subtracted including the large research and bringing to market expenses they always claim causes them to up their prices beyond the point of any normal citizen being able to afford the cures.