Over the past decade, the pharmaceutical industry has experienced major business challenges, including an estimated cost of US$ 1–2 billion and development timelines of 15–20 years for a new drug, and a failure rate that approximates 95 percent. As a consequence, many pharmaceutical companies downsized their operations, especially in early drug discovery. To fuel their R&D pipelines, major companies began to establish a more open innovation model, which was based on partnerships with small biotechnology companies and academic institutions to develop programs focused on novel drug targets, drug scaffolds, leads and candidates. Over 60% of all clinical phase I candidates no longer come from the in-house research of “Big Pharma” industry.
A few universities in the US recognized the pharma industries’ new business model early on and founded internal research alliances offering early drug discovery services to external collaborators. By the end of 2011, leading scientists from the Vanderbilt University, the University of North Carolina, the Harvard University and others formed the Academic Drug Discovery Consortium (ADDC) and invited other centers to join. Since 2015 TüCAD2 has been one of 150 members which pursue the following objectives:
- establish an interactive network within the growing number of academic drug discovery centers
- exchange know-how and expertise related to drug discovery programs and industry partnerships
- create a central repository of drug discovery centers, partnerships, job opportunities and events
- provide a platform for the collaboration between consortium members and the life science industry and other service providers.