Pharmaceuticals Invest To Speed Drug Trials - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Pharmaceuticals Invest To Speed Drug Trials

Venture capital money might be hard to come by for young tech companies these days, but some recent investments show a new trend of pharmaceutical giants financing IT start-ups to develop ways to speed clinical drug trials.

Clinical trials are a "major bottleneck" in the development of new drugs, says Michael Carusi, general partner at venture capital firm Advanced Technology Ventures. Every day lost in slow trials costs drug companies millions of dollars, he says, because the short patent life of the drug is running out, and because other companies are coming to market quicker with copycat products.

On April 18, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly announced it would invest an undisclosed amount in start-up 1747 Inc., developers of a system that automates the clinical trial process and uses the Internet to speed interaction with test subjects. The investment was made through the e.Lilly venture fund, founded in January with a $50 million annual budget. According to the company, the fund is designed to support early-stage development companies working on E-business products to benefit the development of pharmaceuticals.

Late last year, the nation's second-largest drug maker, Merck & Co., formed a new subsidiary, Merck Capital Ventures LLC, which plans to invest $100 million over the next two years into private businesses focused on pharmaceutical development using the Internet and other information technologies. In March, the fund made its first investment, contributing to a $27 million financing round for Acurian Inc., another manufacturer of Web-based trial systems.

Carusi says pharmaceutical companies see these investments as external R&D, allowing them to build tools that they wouldn't be able to develop on their own. "Particularly in the IT area, it's just not an area of competence for them," he says. "There's a level of scale required larger than what Eli or Merck could bring."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Reflections on Tech in 2019
James M. Connolly, Editorial Director, InformationWeek and Network Computing,  12/9/2019
What Digital Transformation Is (And Isn't)
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/4/2019
Watch Out for New Barriers to Faster Software Development
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  12/3/2019
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
The Cloud Gets Ready for the 20's
This IT Trend Report explores how cloud computing is being shaped for the next phase in its maturation. It will help enterprise IT decision makers and business leaders understand some of the key trends reflected emerging cloud concepts and technologies, and in enterprise cloud usage patterns. Get it today!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll