Six key players in the global academic/not-for-profit health research arena have linked hands under a new alliance created to foster innovation and improve medicines development.

The Global Alliance of Leading Drug Discovery and Development Centres aims to strengthen efforts in international academic and/or not-for-profit drug development and commercialisation to help improve the rate at which its research is translated into novel medicines.

The founding member organisations are: Canada's Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD); the US-based Scripps Research Institute; the Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3), from Belgium; UK-based groups Medical Research Council Technology and Cancer Research Technology; and Germany's Lead Discovery Center.

These organisations, which together represent almost 400 experienced drug developers, are fully-integrated translational centres able to push drug discovery projects from idea to drug candidate with proof-of-concept. Alongside tens of thousands of academic scientists around the world, the centres are currently working on over 165 highly innovative therapeutic projects targeting significant unmet medical needs. 

Now, the centres have come together to facilitate international cooperation, develop standards and performance measurements, share best practices, expertise and resources, and collaborate on drug development projects, working together to boost the conversion of early-stage research into new therapies in areas of unmet need.

Specific objectives of the Alliance include increasing the number of licensed patents and know-how stemming from academic sources, increasing the number of spin-out companies from academia/universities and enhancing their viability, and increasing the number of significant risk-sharing collaborations with the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.

“We see a multitude of translational research initiatives around the world, but until now, these have for the most part, worked in isolation of one another," noted Karimah Es Sabar, President and chief executive of CDRD. "This Alliance will be a powerful vehicle in bringing such organisations together, leveraging one another’s strengths, and ultimately making for a much more effective global translational research environment,” he said.