Early-Stage Planning for End-Stage Success

Kenneth F. Wertman, Ph.D.

Icagen's integrated approach to early drug discovery combines chemistry, biology and computational science to help partners optimize efficiency moving from target to lead

Partnering in Early Discovery 

Many companies that have recently started to offer research services in North America are piecing together groups discipline by discipline, and are ending up with neophyte staff that has no experience working together. Effective drug discovery campaigns are executed by interdisciplinary teams that have long-term, collaborative experience. Icagen is composed of whole discovery teams with long co-tenure and deep combined expertise. 

Fully Integrated Approach 

When work progresses, either between CROs or disciplines within a fragmented organization, companies must wait on results from one group before moving on to the next. This creates 'white space’ in programs and presents the risk of missing key insights, which enable on-the-fly corrections. At Icagen, teams are continuously assessing conditions, challenges, and opportunities in order to choose the best solutions—not discipline by discipline, but as a cohesive unit with a view that spans the project. Our fully integrated project teams interface continuously with partners to advance projects. Essentially, partners drive our car with the benefit of its expert navigation system.

Icagen in Tucson: Former Big Pharma Discovery Site

Our Tucson site was a fully capable discovery site prior to our integration. As such, Icagen is well-equipped to manage all aspects of early discovery, either as individual services, integrated packages, or fully integrated programs. This presents the opportunity to establish business relationships beyond simple fee-for-service models, including an assortment of joint venture or risk-shared models.

Born in Biotech, Matured in Big Pharma

Both our Arizona and North Carolina teams understand the Big Pharma expectations and ways of working, as we are accustomed to interfacing with matrix organizations. At the same time, both teams had discrete operational roles within their organizations, which they fulfilled as small teams in remote locations. This kept their biotech thinking alive. In biotech, efficiency, productivity and impact are everyone’s responsibility, and so we offer the scale and rigor of industry with the benefits of a biotech culture.

Unusually Long Tenure Among Teams

At Icagen, people really know one another. We’ve built careers, knowledge, value and, indeed, families together. Research is complex, making clear communication critical for the productive exchange of information, especially when “productive” is synonymous with “innovative.” Studies by Linda Hill, Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, identified three key traits shared by truly innovative organizations: Creative Agility, Creative Abrasion and Creative Resolution. None of these are possible without transparent, sincere and effective communication. The relationship among our staff is the foundation upon which we create innovative solutions.

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