Democratizing Science: Big Pharma Joins Forces with Academia

“Science is being democratized. Data shows that some 60% of new medicines these days come from academia and start-ups 01. Combined with the scale and knowledge of pharma, this can create access to new and exciting modalities that will make a real difference to people's lives.”
Richard Francis, Teva President and CEO

Building cross-sector and multidisciplinary collaborations, developing innovative technology and supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs will all play an important part in developing the medicines of the future.

An industry shift in attitudes and working patterns is needed to embrace this new age and find new ways of operating. At Teva, this shift has already started.

In the academic partnerships space, Teva has developed many collaborations with leading labs around the globe. In the last three years, following extensive mapping of the Israeli ecosystem, Teva established over 30 collaborations in Israel as part of its Israeli Academic engagement initiative.

The main goal of these collaborations is to find new targets, technologies and therapeutics for Teva's future pipeline. In addition to researching strategic collaborations, Teva also established a National Forum for BioInnovators, a forum for top PhDs and post-doctoral students that aims to bridge the gap between academia and industry and train the future biotech leaders.

It brings together PhD and post-doc students working in immunology and neuroscience with Teva, the biotech industry and business community. For the last three years, the program has worked with participants from Tel Aviv University, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Ben Gurion University, Bar Ilan University and the Weizmann Institute of Science, and its growing community currently includes over 120 students from around Israel.

Speaking at a recent event at Teva’s R&D site in Netanya Israel, which gathered together Teva collaborators from academia, medical centers, start-ups and government, Head of Global Academic Collaborations Dr Dana Bar-On said: “We are proud to introduce you to this growing community of scientists, our academic collaborators over the last three years, bringing cutting edge science and innovation into Teva. Especially we are delighted to nurture a young generation of future researchers-entrepreneurs from around the country with very diverse backgrounds. We look forward to what these talented young researchers will achieve as they collaborate and prepare for the future of medicine.”

The event brought together leaders from various sectors including Tel Aviv University, global Health Tech and Life Sciences investment fund aMoon, MetaSight biotechnology and AION labs, a first-of-its-kind alliance of global pharma and technology leaders and investors, along with Teva’s leadership and R&D expertise.

Israeli President, Mr Isaac Herzog, sent congratulations to Teva's R&D leaders and the Israeli academic ecosystem, emphasizing the importance of strengthening these strong promising collaborations and the leadership of Teva in creating this strong partnership with academia.

Discussions on the day looked at creative models for academic-industry partnership, with the aim of:

  • Creating win-win scientific collaborations between industry, start-ups and academia to improve patients’ lives
  • Fostering open and honest dialogue between scientists and industry
  • Supporting researchers and scientists in protecting their intellectual property and finding the right business partner
  • Reducing clinical trial failure rates with the help of artificial intelligence

And the ultimate aim of these collaborations? In the words of Dr Eric Hughes, Head of Global R&D and Chief Medical Officer, “to bring the world new innovative medicines that can improve lives all over the world”.

“One thing is clear,” says Richard Francis. “It’s an opportunity to truly transform the practice of medicine and change people's lives for the better.


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This content represents the opinions of the contributors and does not necessarily reflect those of Teva Pharmaceuticals. All content is aspirational in nature, is intended for informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered for any product recommendations. Consult a qualified medical professional for diagnosis and before beginning or changing any treatment regimen.

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