The FasterCures Track: May/June 2013 - Collaborating for a cause

The FasterCures Track

As we all know, when it comes to the search for cures, no one can go it alone.

And the system for finding cures requires that each sector works together to take a new scientific discovery from the research lab to the patient.

So at FasterCures, we focus on making collaboration happen by creating opportunities that jumpstart partnerships, spotlighting collaborative efforts across sectors and amplifying lessons learned by the people who have led these efforts. A recent report from FierceBiotech highlighted collaborations between participating organizations of our TRAIN program (The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network) and biotech companies. Venture philanthropies are channeling their passions into solutions and are undaunted by taking risks in promising developments that may lead to cures. But they realize that they cannot do this alone and are working with companies with the expertise and resources that can move therapies forward.

One of the examples cited in the article has also been featured recently in our Fixes in Financing series, in which two patient foundations collaborated to create a biotech company. And another stellar example of collaboration will be featured during a TRAIN Webinar on June 19.

More and more we hear about collaborative models, consortia, public-private partnerships. It's gone from being the topic du jour to being a trend. And this mindset, this openness to finding others and working with them toward a shared goal, is the rising tide that will lift all boats.

Moving forward, we will continue to beat the drum on the need for more collaboration - and we will start fine-tuning the message as we begin to dissect what elements are needed to actually make collaboration work. After all, collaboration is not the end - it's the means toward our collective goal of a faster cure.

Warm regards,

Margaret's signature

Margaret Anderson
Executive Director

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Global Conference Highlights


Science takes center stage at world's top finance conference
The Milken Institute's recent Global Conference brought together more than 3,500 leaders in business, finance, government, public policy, academia, philanthropy, law, science, and news media. Read the summaries and view videos of the health panels, which covered the latest in venture philanthropy, medical innovations, R&D financing, and more.

FasterCures Program Updates

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Our goal: Stimulate innovative collaborations across all sectors - academia, government, industry, investors, and nonprofits - to speed up the time it takes to get new therapies from the lab to patients.

Partnering for Cures Innovator Presentations

Apply now to present your innovative collaboration at Partnering for Cures
Are you a medical research innovator? FasterCures invites organizations engaged in innovative, cross-sector collaborations to submit presentation proposals for an innovator presentation slot at this year's Partnering for Cures meeting, to be held Nov. 3-5 in New York. Each 25-minute presentation will provide an opportunity to engage potential investors, partners, and/or collaborators in moving your existing initiative forward or amplifying the impact of your approach.

Register now for June 19 Webinar on LLS' Therapy Acceleration Program
On June 19, 1 to 2 p.m. Eastern, FasterCures' TRAIN will host a free Webinar to showcase a venture philanthropy model, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP). TAP looks to fund projects related to therapies that have the potential to change the standard of care for patients with blood cancer, especially in areas of high unmet medical need. The presenters will be Louis DeGennaro, Ph.D., chief mission officer, LLS, and Lawrence Mayer, Ph.D., founder, president, and head of research, Celator Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Register today.

Resources focus on cross-sector dealmaking

Did you know that TRAIN Central Station features a cache of tools, publications, resources, and slides addressing the challenges of cross-sector dealmaking? The resources, contributed by TRAIN organizations, cover collaboration, resource building, management and accountability, innovation, intellectual property, and more.

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FasterCures featured in report on foundations fueling risky biotech ventures
Venture philanthropy is poised for fast-paced growth in the coming years. Compared to traditional venture capitalists, nonprofits tend to be more motivated to find cures than garner a financial return. With this in mind, nonprofits try to support early research efforts, with the goal of passing off the research funding to wealthier investors at a later stage. Read more in this FierceBiotech special report, which highlights FasterCures' venture philanthropy engagement and advocacy efforts.

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Policy and Process

Our goal: Improve research processes and develop policies that will better support efficient development and approval of new therapies.

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Francis Collins of the NIH greets Majority Leader Eric Cantor during his visit (photo courtesy of NIH)

Medical research investment: an opportunity for bipartisanship?
A few weeks ago, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor led a bipartisan group of members to the NIH campus to learn more about its work, but also to discuss the future. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Michael Burgess (R-TX), Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Andy Harris (R-MD), Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Ted Yoho (R-FL) joined the Majority Leader. Read more about this visit and other examples of bipartisan efforts for medical research.

FasterCures congratulates Marilyn Tavenner's confirmation as Medicare/Medicaid chief
FasterCures congratulates Marilyn Tavenner for her confirmation as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an $820 billion agency that oversees the bulk of federal healthcare spending and healthcare reform. Decisions made by CMS impact not only the way we reimburse for costs associated with healthcare delivery, in so many ways, but these decisions also determine what therapies patients can access today, and what therapies might move down the path from the laboratory bench to the patient's bedside. At FasterCures, we're particularly paying close attention to the role CMS and other payers could and should play in advancing innovation in research and development. We continue to work closely with all sectors of the medical research ecosystem to explore effective ways to engage payers into the R&D process, whether it is through a discussion of what data sets are relevant to reimbursement decisions, or a broader conversation about the role that reimbursement will play on decision-making at biopharma companies as they decide therapeutic discovery pathways.

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Our goal: Increase patient engagement in research.

Time Equals Lives includes more than 100 stories from patients, researchers, and advocates
FasterCures' Time Equals Lives campaign has gathered stories from individuals across the country who all agree that medical research matters. Check out some of the latest stories:

Catherine Cooling Davis is 28, newly married, getting her MBA, and living with metastatic neuroendocrine cancer. But, she's not letting this life-threatening diagnosis stop her from being her own best advocate in the face of uncertainty.

As director of the Institute for Scientific Computing Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and director of the High Performance Computing Innovation Center, the technology Fred Streitz is working on every day has the potential to save lives. Through the use of high performance computers, Fred and his team have developed a new code called Cardioid, which mimics the electrical currents that naturally make the muscles of the heart pump blood throughout the body.

Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) is an extremely rare genetic disorder where bone forms unexpectedly within muscle and other soft tissue. Although two-year-old Sienna Otto was diagnosed with FOP in 2012, neither Sienna nor her family have let this rare disorder affect their positive outlook on life.

Share your story about why medical research matters to you. Print the sheets to fill in the blank with your answer to "More funding for medical research means..." and "Medical research matters because..." Then, submit the form and join the more than 120 people who have joined the Time=Lives campaign.

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Our goal: Facilitate greater access to and more strategic allocation of capital to support results-driven medical research.

PAS connects you with the latest in philanthropy
The Philanthropy Advisory Service continues to be the go-to resource for the latest trends and developments in medical research philanthropy. PAS engages with philanthropists, family offices, wealth advisors, and foundations to facilitate strategic and informed philanthropic investment in biomedical research. Engage with PAS by:

  • Discovering best practices in medical research giving through the Philanthropy Toolkit
  • Sharing upcoming meetings that are of interest to the philanthropy community by sending an email to
  • Learning more about how you or your foundation or family office can engage with PAS by contacting Elizabeth West

Financial innovation series highlights funding approaches for rare diseases

To highlight novel R&D funding models, FasterCures has recently profiled DART Therapeutics, which was created in 2010 by two venture philanthropies to focus specifically on targets for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Cydan Development, Inc., a new accelerator focused on advancing programs for rare diseases.

Amplifying the Message

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On March 28, Program Director Kristin Schneeman conducted a Webinar, "Overview of the Drug Development Landscape," for the CFIDS Association, a participating organization of TRAIN. The Webinar was the first in a series conducted by the association to educate its stakeholders - patients, volunteers, researchers, and others - about the R&D and FDA approval processes in advance of the FDA's first day-long meeting in its new Patient-Focused Drug Development initiative. The agency is seeking meaningful input from patient communities in 20 disparate disease areas about their perspectives on the risks and benefits of new treatments for their diseases; the first meeting in this Congressionally mandated process is focused on myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.

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On April 3, Schneeman spoke on a panel at the first annual Southeast Venture Philanthropy Summit on "The Why and How to Work with Venture Philanthropies." The event in Chapel Hill, NC, brought together more than 300 participants from foundations, regional companies, investors, and others in a partnering conference, similar to the Partnering for Cures model. Other panelists included Louise Perkins from the Melanoma Research Alliance, Sharon Hesterlee from Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, and Nancy Kamei from Aberdare Ventures.


Margaret Anderson, executive director of FasterCures, spoke about "The Evolving Role of Patients in the R&D Ecosystem" at the opening session of the Translational Science 2013 Joint Annual Meeting, held April 17-19 in Washington, and sponsored by the Association for Clinical and Translational Science. Anderson addressed lessons in patient participation - how to find and engage them, what advocates are doing to speed medical progress in their diseases, and what researchers can learn from their pioneering efforts.


At the BIO International Convention, April 22-25 in Chicago, Anderson moderated a panel on "Innovative Innovation: New Partners, New Partnerships" that focused on several recently created public- and private-sector partnerships whose goal is to improve the productivity of the biomedical research ecosystem, and explored how they may provide solutions with measurable impact for patients worldwide. Panelists included Chris Austin of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the NIH, Ronald DePinho of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dale Edgar of Eli Lilly and Company, Ann Meeker-O'Connell of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Garry Neil of Apple Tree Partners.


Anderson spoke about promoting public- and private-sector collaboration and investment in drug development at the Sachs Cancer Bio Partnering Forum, May 21-22 in Boston. The roundtable discussion was co-chaired by Susan Love, president of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, and Paul Juniewicz, North American head of oncology business opportunities at Sanofi Aventis.

NYBA meeting

During the New York Biotechnology Association Annual Meeting held May 29-30 in New York, Anderson was a keynote speaker. This gathering of 800 attendees focused on the theme of "Innovation :: Acceleration :: Commercialization."

Tools you can use

Did you know that it can take 10,000 compounds and more than 15 years to reach one approved drug? Download this graphic that depicts the R&D pipeline, which was published in our recent report, “Measuring and Improving Impact: A Toolkit for Nonprofit Funders of Medical Research."





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Download this graphic from the Time=Lives campaign, and find more images to share that show how saving time in medical research can save lives.

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Until next issue

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