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IU School of Medicine creates portal to encourage collaboration with industry

IU School of Medicine • 2/10/15

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana University School of Medicine has launched an initiative and accompanying web site to encourage more collaboration between private industry and researchers at the medical school.

Creation of the Industry Collaboration Portal is one of the school’s programs to move research discoveries out of the laboratory and develop them into new products that will benefit patient care and improve health, said Jaipal Singh, Ph.D., director of the portal.

“Many of the discoveries we make at the university are not getting out into use in society. Collaborations with industry will help commercialize them,” Dr. Singh said.

The need for such a program also reflects changes in the research environments in both academia and in private industry, Dr. Singh said. On the academic side funding from the National Institutes of Health, which is has been the primary source of money for university biomedical research, is declining. That trend has research institutions broadening their search for funds.

Private industry, meanwhile, has been changing its research model over the past decade as costs rise and patents expire, said Dr. Singh. As a result businesses are more interested in collaboration and are looking to academic scientists for discoveries that could translate to new therapies.

“So we’re not turning our back on basic science research, but we’re providing opportunities for our scientists to take the next steps toward commercialization and translational research,” he said.

“Creating the Industry Collaboration Portal is a critical part of our efforts to encourage a more entrepreneurial environment at the school that will benefit both our investigators and society,” said Mervin C. Yoder, M.D., associate dean for entrepreneurial research and Richard and Pauline Klingler Professor of Pediatrics.

With the web site — https://icp.medicine.iu.edu/ — along with personal outreach, the Industry Collaboration Portal will link industry scientists with their academic counterparts working on similar questions. The web site includes access to a database of school of medicine scientists with expertise in translational research: the process of moving discoveries from the lab to the patient bedside.

“With this portal and team we want to make it easier for industry representatives to find just the right person to work with at the IU School of Medicine,” said David S. Wilkes, M.D., executive associate dean for research affairs.

Dr. Singh, a researcher and technology transfer specialist with experience in both industry and academia, came to IU from Emory Healthcare System in Atlanta, where he was chief scientific officer and vice president of research at St. Joseph Translational Research Institute. Previously he spent about 18 years as a scientist and research manager at Eli Lilly and Co.

Along with Dr. Singh, an industry collaboration team of IUSM faculty members broadly familiar with school of medicine research resources will support the panel’s activities:

  • Mervin C. Yoder Jr., M.D., associate dean for entrepreneurial research.
  • Padma Portonovo, Ph.D., project manager, Industry Collaboration Portal.
  • David P. Basile, Ph.D., associate professor of cellular and integrative physiology.
  • Timothy W. Corson, Ph.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology.
  • Elaine G. Cox, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics.
  • Tatiana M. Foroud, Ph.D., P. Michael Conneally Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics.
  • Melissa Kacena, M.D., associate professor of orthopaedic surgery.
  • R. Mark Payne, M.D., professor of pediatrics.
  • Milan Radovich, Ph.D., assistant professor of surgery.
  • Debbie C. Thurmond, Ph.D., associate director, basic diabetes research group, Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research.

In addition, nine outside experts from a variety of business and academic backgrounds have also agreed to serve on an external advisory board for the portal:

  • Richard DiMarchi, Ph.D., the Standiford H. Cox Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and the Linda and Jack Gill Chair in Biomolecular Sciences at Indiana University.
  • Jamie Dananberg, M.D., head of the cardiovascular and metabolic therapeutic area unit at Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
  • John D. Diekman, Ph.D., founder and managing partner of 5AM Ventures.
  • Ron Laufer, M.D., senior managing director of MedImmune Ventures, a wholly owned venture capital fund within the AstraZeneca Group.
  • Alan Palkowitz, Ph.D., vice president of discovery chemistry research and technologies at Lilly Research Laboratories.
  • Franklyn G. Prendergast, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine.
  • Darryle D. Schoepp, Ph.D., senior vice president and franchise head for neuroscience and ophthalmology at Merck Research Laboratories.
  • Brian Sweet, executive director of U.S. Payer & Real World Evidence at AstraZeneca.
  • Nancy A. Thornberry, Ph. D., an independent consultant with more than 30 years of pharmaceutical industry experience.