FasterCures Centers will lead bold, transformative ideas that will address the challenges that stand in the way of medical progress.
1. The Center for Treatment and Care Innovation
The Challenge: There's rising concern in the medical research community that payers will not reimburse innovative therapies. Ultimately, if we don't address this concern, investors will see this as an additional risk in a biopharmaceutical sector that has already seen price-to-earnings ratios fall dramatically in recent years.
The Opportunity: The Care Innovation Center will allow FasterCures to increase collaboration among industry, regulators, payers, providers, and patients to understand which approaches succeed and which fail. We'll use that knowledge to inform research agendas and reduce failure rates – including failures in the approval process and "failures to launch," when payers will not reimburse an approved treatment. Through activities like Consensus Meetings – which bring together the key players to discuss pathways for intersecting early in the research process – FasterCures will work to increase collaboration, decrease overall costs, and improve patient outcomes.
2. The Center for Prevention and Wellness
The Challenge: As much as 70 percent of all health expenditures are related to illnesses caused or made worse by the way we live our lives. If we eliminate suffering and death from heart disease and cancer, we could produce more than $100 trillion of long-term economic benefits in the U.S. alone. Our nation's collective weight gain just since 1991 costs $1 trillion in treatment, reduced productivity, and diversion of medical resources from developing cures to dealing with preventable sickness.
The Opportunity: With the Prevention and Wellness Center, FasterCures will create opportunities to connect prevention initiatives with cure efforts, engage government and industry leaders in a dialogue about the importance of this work, and create a national action plan that recognizes the crucial role private industry plays. We'll assess the landscape of private sector initiatives and assemble a CEO Roundtable of leaders from Fortune 500 companies who can galvanize a movement around prevention and wellness in the private sector.
3. The FasterCures Center for Translational Research
The Challenge: The NIH is the single largest sponsor of biomedical research in the world, funding approximately $30 billion of research annually. It has been a driving force behind decades of advances that have improved the health of people in the United States and around the world. However, federal spending cuts and the threat of budget sequestration loom on the horizon. If we are to conquer disease, funding for the NIH must be sustained, and the agency must be able to develop new partnerships between the public and private sectors.
The Opportunity: With FasterCures' policy expertise and ability to convene the right players, we'll advocate for sustaining agency funding and expanding grants to younger researchers and to groundbreaking areas of research. We'll support translational research programs that encourage innovation within the agency and among other public and private resources including the FDA, academia, industry, and investors. We'll also lead high-level public dialogue on preserving U.S. leadership in the biomedical industry.
4. The Center for Cancer Research Innovation
The Challenge: We have made significant strides in our understanding and treatment of various forms of cancer. Yet cancer continues to impose enormous human and financial costs. In 2012, about 577,190 Americans are expected to die of cancer – nearly 1,600 people each day. The annual bill for cancer care in the U.S. exceeds $200 billion, yet our national investment in cancer research is declining.
The Opportunity: The FasterCures Cancer Innovation Center will pursue an agenda that focuses on a systems approach to cancer research. This includes creating collaborations across disciplines, sectors, and interests focused on advancing progress; strengthening and expanding our national commitment to cancer research; and identifying best practices and policies to ensure promising efforts reach their full potential. The Center will convene a multidisciplinary task force focused on redefining the cancer clinical trials system to better meet patients' needs, encourage translational cancer research, and identify opportunities for directing risk capital to high-impact cancer research.
5. The Center for Drug Development Innovation
The Challenge: The current drug development system is broken – it's too slow and expensive. On average, it takes 15 years and at least $1 billion to bring a new therapy to patients. Consequently, industry productivity remains low, and fewer drugs that are truly novel reach the market.
The Opportunity: The FasterCures Center will lead efforts to identify and foster new models of innovation that will decrease the cost and time for discovering and developing new therapies. With the ultimate goals of faster approvals and reduced costs for development of therapies, we'll evaluate and promote new research and business models for drug development, including open innovation, cross-sector collaboration, and clinical trials reengineering. We'll also create opportunities for grand-scale data-sharing and work to establish safe havens and dedicated budgets to experiment with new research models across drug development players.
6. The Research Acceleration & Innovation Network (TRAIN) Center
The Challenge: Nonprofit disease research foundations, often referred to as venture philanthropies, are fast becoming the engine behind innovation in biomedical research. However, many of these organizations – which focus on curing diseases rather than fixing the research system – find their best efforts delayed and occasionally defeated by the same systemic and cultural obstacles that slow medical progress. Also, the medical research community is not fully recognizing the potential of these organizations.
The Opportunity: Through the FasterCures TRAIN program, these patient-driven organizations have greater opportunities to learn from each other's successes and failures and to work together on common challenges. Under the leadership of the Center, FasterCures will further enhance its work with TRAIN members to increase efficiency, spur more partnership opportunities between members and industry, and create collaborative approaches needed to advance each organization's mission and improve the medical research enterprise.
7. The Center for International Collaboration in the Biosciences
The Challenge: In the increasingly international medical research ecosystem, intellectual capital is relocating to places like China, Singapore, and the Middle East. Meanwhile, many developing nations are producing remarkable results with limited resources. Yet there's little cross-national collaboration to speed the process of discovery and develop more effective and innovative models of regulation. Additionally, there is untapped opportunity among some sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) that could be more engaged in supporting medical research.
The Opportunity:The International Collaboration Center will support efforts to forge partnerships between SWFs and industry, support human capital development, increase patient input and engagement, and use public/private partnerships to foster regulatory innovation. Through programs like an Innovation World Tour and a Global Collaboration Summit, FasterCures will engage leaders from institutions and governments that are redefining the research enterprise and seek greater commitments from SWFs worldwide to support medical research.
8. The Center for Patients Helping Doctors
The Challenge: Medical research cannot advance without patient participation and information – through electronic health records (EHRs), biobanking, and clinical trials. The promise of personalized medicine, in fact, relies on voluntary access to patient information. Yet the systems we currently have in place to engage patients are woefully lacking. EHR systems are not built with research in mind, issues of public trust are hurting our biobanking system, and clinical trials are plagued by low participation because of misperceptions and low awareness.
The Opportunity: Under the leadership of the Patients Helping Doctors Center, FasterCures will cultivate a culture of participation in clinical research by identifying emerging technology platforms and best practices and by offering policy solutions that ensure appropriate incentives are in place for patients to be active research participants. We'll support the development and implementation of technology frameworks and networks to usher in an era of preventive, predictive, and personalized care.
9. The Center for Bioscience Regulatory Policy
The Challenge: The FDA is responsible for timely review and approval of all new drugs and devices. But the agency, which regulates 25 cents of every consumer dollar, is under great strain given increasing internationalization, scientific complexity, and regulatory responsibilities. As the FDA takes on increasing responsibilities, its resources are eroding. The FDA requires adequate financial and human capital to carry out its mission. There is no backstop – no other agency performs this crucial work.
The Opportunity: The Center for Bioscience Regulatory Policy will build on FasterCures' policy expertise, leadership role, and convening power to implement an agenda that provides the FDA with access to external expertise, fosters a clearer and more transparent regulatory review process, and advocates for sufficient levels of funding for the agency to fulfill successfully its vital mission of protecting the public health and ensuring timely review and approval of new drugs and devices.
10. The Center for Philanthropy Advisory Services
The Challenge: Philanthropic investment accounts for only 2 percent of total medical research funding in the U.S., but, when done wisely, it has an outsized impact. Unfortunately, there are few resources to help philanthropists identify high-performing disease research organizations. With Philanthropy Advisory Services (PAS) tools and resources, philanthropists will be more empowered and informed in their giving, allowing for better strategic investment of their passion capital. PAS helps philanthropists assess and identify high-impact giving opportunities that can advance disease research.
The Opportunity: Under leadership of the PAS Center, FasterCures will pursue three broad objectives. First is research. We'll produce Disease Reports that identify scientific and infrastructure investment priorities to advance a field of research. For the second objective, education, we'll host quarterly "Giving Smarter" briefing sessions to educate philanthropists about the PAS framework for identifying opportunities. Finally, we'll develop the architecture for a Mutual Philanthropy Fund, an investment vehicle that marries social and mission investing.
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