Life Science Compliance Update

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March 11, 2016

Biogen Joins the Center for Therapeutic Target Validation

The Center for Therapeutic Target Validation (CTTV) has a new member to boast about, helping them improve the success rate for discovering new medicines: Biogen. The CTTV, originally formed by GlaxoSmithKline, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and the European Bioinformatics Institute, works to foster deep, ongoing interactions between academic and industry members to develop open, transformative approaches to selecting and validating novel targets in drug development.

The CTTV covers all aspects of human health and disease and has an agreement between collaborators that experimental data and other information gathered within the CTTV will be shared to benefit the broader scientific community, but only after it has gone through basic quality control checks to ensure consistency and compliance with data sharing guidelines of both involved institutes.

Target validation, an exercise that CTTV focuses on, clearly defines the role that a biological process plays in a disease and is an important phase in drug discovery. Currently, it is estimated that ninety percent of compounds that enter clinical trials do not demonstrate the necessary efficacy and safety requirements, and therefore never actually reach patients as life-saving medicines. Oftentimes, this is because the biological target chosen is not completely understood.

Jeffrey Barrett, the Director of the CTTV, announced the collaboration,

the CTTV is proud to announce the addition of Biogen to our collaboration to improve the process of identifying and validating targets. The pre-competitive nature of CTTV is critical: the collaboration of our members allows us to make the most of commercial R&D practice while making the data and information available to everyone. It is truly exciting to apply so many different areas of expertise, from cell biology to large scale genome analysys, to the challenge of creating better medicines.

Sally John, the Vice President of Computational Biology & Genomics at Biogen, is looking forward to being a part of this partnership, stating, "we are committed to advancing evidence-based target discovery and opening up the field for researchers to create innovative methods and tools to accelerate the development of new medicines. Being part of the CTTV helps us realize this vision and provides a practical, harmonized way to share data with the scientific community."

The Vice President of Digital Health Technology & Data Sciences at Biogen, Philip Ma, also believes this partnership will be beneficial moving forward, stating, "The importance of accessing and managing searchable, structured data is critical to sharing knowledge on target validation. We look forward to combining our expertise in data sciences with the leading capabilities of GSK, the Sanger Institute and EMBL-EBI."

Biogen's membership with the CTTV follows the launch of the new CTTV Target Validation Platform, which helps researchers identify therapeutic targets for new medicines. The platform has had over 8000 visits since its December 2015 launch.

Is This Data Socialism?

The CTTV collaboration differs from the ICMJE proposed requirements and "data socialism" we previously wrote about, in part because the CTTV collaboration is a voluntary collaboration, whereas the ICMJE proposed requirements would mandate sharing hard-earned and heavily-researched data generated by interventional clinical trials. While this collaboration has some big names behind it, only time will tell as to whether or not it serves as a benefit to industry and the American public.

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