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Strategic Outsourcing Supports Pharma’s Focus on Internal Pipelines

Richie Cunningham

Recent developments and headlines such as “Lilly's CEO keeps faith in the pipeline as biotech gets 'too expensive'” and “Leery of new deals, Roche spotlights its late-stage pipeline standoutssuggest that more drug companies are relying more on internal pipelines than M&A to remain competitive.   Given how many pharma companies have downsized internal R&D resources, will this further bolster the trend for outsourcing? 

The results from the 2015 Annual Outsourcing Survey from Contract Pharma magazine suggest so. When asked if there is an increasing demand for outsourcing this year, 80% of respondents answered yes. And the survey indicates that the way companies are using outsourcing is shifting. The results suggest a growing trend that companies are viewing their relationships with outsourcing providers as strategic rather than tactical, and moreover as partnerships.

A renewed focus on internal pipelines over M&A, and a move toward outsourcing becoming more strategic, provides a strong argument for choosing providers with specialized expertise in the therapeutic or target area of interest that can act as an extension of their internal R&D.

Icagen is an outsourcing provider focused on specific targets – ion channels and transporters.  With over 20 years of leadership in the ion channel field, the Icagen team offers an extensive track record of advancing multiple drug candidates from discovery to human clinical evaluation for multiple ion channel classes and two different sodium channels covering a broad range of therapeutic indications, including cardiac arrhythmias, sickle cell anemia, asthma, epilepsy and pain. Our growing tool box comprises a broad range of cell lines and technologies for ion channel and transporter research, including an extensive portfolio of more than 1000 cell lines stably expressing recombinant human ion channels, species orthologs and distinct disease-related or drug binding site mutants for use throughout pre-clinical ion channel drug development.

Another unique value we bring to our partners is our proprietary, label-free XRpro® platform. XRpro® technology, based on X-ray fluorescence, is a novel method that enables high throughput assessment of ion channels and transporters, including challenging systems of high therapeutic interest.

For pharma companies relying more heavily on their internal pipelines, partnering with outsource providers that have extensive experience with a specific target type and understand the process of drug development will offer benefits to help maintain a competitive edge.