Vital Signs: Partnerships between industry, providers and academia

pharmafile | February 10, 2017 | News story | Medical Communications Deloitte 

Hanno Ronte, life sciences partner at Deloitte, writes upon the opportunities available when a collaborative environment between industry, providers and academia is encouraged.

In mid-2016, Deloitte UK’s Centre for Health Solutions published new research exploring the performance of six European countries and how they are tackling the health and care challenges they face.

The report – “vital signs: how to deliver better healthcare across Europe” – looks at Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK, and compares these health systems through the lens of seven ‘vital signs’ which are reflective of the whole patient journey.  We believe that by focusing on these vital signs and learning from the best practice of others, leaders across the healthcare setting can work towards making their goods and services fit for the future, and ultimately, delivering better healthcare for everyone.

One of these vital signs, which is arguably the most relevant to pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, looks at partnerships between industry, providers and academia.  It looks at how cross-industry partnerships can help foster excellence in areas such as basic research and innovation, leading to the development of new drugs and treatments.  By encouraging a collaborative environment, whether through government investment or the presence of a strong research infrastructure, we believe healthcare systems can provide better outcomes for patients and national health economies.  This article will explore that vital sign in more detail.

Collaborating to improve health outcomes and societal wealth

All patients, given a choice, would want to be treated with the latest drugs and medical devices, by clinicians who are at the top of their profession, using the most innovative services in the clinical pathway. Health systems that encourage basic research, translational science and innovative care delivery succeed in serving patients better and delivering better outcomes. Three areas of partnerships between industry, academia and the health system make this possible:

  • Basic science research, funded by partnerships between governments and industry for the discovery of new treatments, often measured by the number of early patents for drugs, devices and services
  • Translational research and applied medicine that support the development of new drugs and devices in clinical trials, using investigators and clinicians who are leading academics in their field
  • Partnering in the development of innovation, not just procuring, aimed at delivering person-centric health services and research to optimise clinical service delivery.

These partnerships create a virtuous circle of excellence, including enabling healthcare to generate wealth rather than be perceived as simply a cost. Industry, academia and health system partnerships, in building a research base, also create key knowledge-based employment. In short, a strong vital sign of a healthy economy is a well-integrated medical research community with trusted partnerships between healthcare providers, academia and industry leading to better health outcomes and a stronger economy.

What does good look like?

A favourable economic environment to drive investment in research that includes:

  • A clear vision and strategy for the industry supported by government policies that encourage domestic research and development (R&D), including R&D tax credits, defined bio-medical clusters and life sciences ‘enterprise zones’ which offer incentives to attract investment, and act as catalysts for new businesses
  • Direct government investment in R&D. For example through grants and provision of supporting infrastructure
  • Availability of venture capital funding for early-stage life sciences companies and academic institutions, to help innovation
  • Alternative sources of funding for research including a dynamic philanthropic environment and a strong charitable sector that focuses on fundraising for research for specific conditions such as cancer, dementia and antibiotic resistance

A strong life sciences academic community, comprising:

  • A sense of trust between industry, academia, the health system, government and the public
  • High-quality academic institutions, with clinical and basic research academics
  • Specialised healthcare and life sciences research (with citations in world renowned medical journals)
  • Substantial involvement in life sciences R&D – basic and translational research (trials)
  • National and multinational R&D collaborations with other academic institutions, and between academia and the private sector
  • Specialisation in key areas of science, for example genomics.

A strong life sciences industry presence:

  • Large networked industry presence (measured by the number of global and regional HQs)
  • Companies of different sizes: ranging from start-ups and mid-cap biotechnology companies to large pharmaceutical and medical technology companies
  • Investment by industry in domestic R&D – from clinical trials to basic research and person-centric service delivery
  • Internationalised R&D model involving collaboration between countries
  • Concentration of life sciences in clusters of excellence, where academia and industry work hand in hand.

Collaboration in R&D, translational medicine and delivery of healthcare service:

  • High-performing healthcare providers collaborating and sharing expertise, risk and reward to enable innovative services and products to reach patients
  • Healthcare providers that actively prioritise recruitment of patients to clinical trials and support patients to adhere to the regime and remain on the trial
  • Access to a large, diverse population, in terms of genetics and types of health conditions, for clinical trials and rese

What next for healthcare partnerships?

Our full report also includes a number of good practice examples of partnership working, but ultimately we believe that trusted partnerships between industry, academia and healthcare providers are an essential feature of a country’s innovation, health and wealth strategy. Governments across Europe need to work in partnership with industry to set the long-term direction needed to attract life sciences investment and ensure that this investment translates into better care for patients. This includes speeding up the healthcare and life sciences innovation process to help new medicines and technology move more quickly from conception to adoption at scale. The UK is the country in our cohort that has demonstrated the most holistic approach to partnering, collaboration and innovation.

Key enablers of the development of effective partnerships

  • Trust in partnerships and collaborations between industry, academia, providers and payers, underpinned by government support
  • An environment that encourages collaboration between industry, academia and healthcare providers and adoption of innovation
  • Government support and information to encourage commercialisation of medical innovation (device, drugs, and services)
  • A strong public-goods ethos, underpinning the research infrastructure, for example providing access to real world evidence and genomics data to help research
  • Established channels to engage the patient and clinicians in steering research focus and evaluating outcomes
  • Consistent and stable procurement frameworks and a supportive funding landscape
  • A health system and provider structure willing to take well-thought-through risks and accept revolutionary (rather than evolutionary) change.
  • Clear systems and processes for registering intellectual property rights.
For the full article, including further detail and diagrams, view the complete edition of Pharmafile below:

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