The FasterCures Track: July 2013 - A Journey of Innovation

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The FasterCures Track

A Journey of Innovation

Summer travel season is in full swing. As we trek near and far to be with friends and family, I am reminded of a different voyage – the journey that we are all on to find innovative solutions for medical research. The current system of drug development takes too long and costs too much. We need to innovate every step of the R&D pipeline to find faster cures for patients.

FasterCures strives to innovate our own work and the medical research system in several ways, which you can read about below. For example, we welcomed two new senior fellows who are experts in innovation for the biopharma industry and data-sharing, we showcased an innovative venture philanthropy model in our most recent TRAIN Webinar, and we explored approaches to financing drug development that can serve as examples for others.

FasterCures is constantly seeking out and amplifying new solutions that could pave the way to medical progress, and one of our favorite ways to do this is through the Innovator Presentations at Partnering for Cures. Through the end of the month, organizations can apply to present their cross-sector collaborations during 25-minute presentation slots at the meeting (see below for more information). We have seen impressive examples of innovation from these presentations, including the establishment of a $1.5 million fund to support development of promising new cancer immunotherapies and the expansion of a partnership that enables secure cross-institutional data sharing in order to support research and implementation studies. We look forward to seeing this year's innovations.

Our work does not happen in a vacuum. It is important to inform the public and policymakers about new innovations and the vital importance of research. We periodically hold briefings on Capitol Hill to do just that. Everyone who cares about getting more and better treatments to patients sooner should be concerned about the lack of therapies that reach the stage of clinical testing and the even smaller number of therapies that ultimately are approved and made widely available. Our most recent briefing focused on translating science into cures and explored innovations such as NCATS that are accelerating the pace of discovery.

Thank you for taking this journey toward innovation with us. We look forward to working with you every step of the way.

Warm regards,

Margaret's signature
Margaret Anderson
Executive Director
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FasterCures Highlights

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FasterCures adds innovation experts as senior fellows
FasterCures is expanding its work by adding two highly respected innovators – biopharmaceutical industry expert Bernard Munos and open science leader John Wilbanks – as senior fellows. Munos and Wilbanks will work on projects that will help FasterCures build consensus around innovative solutions to important public policy challenges in the life sciences industry and medical research and development ecosystem. Munos will focus on trends in the biopharmaceutical industry that enable or curtail innovation, while Wilbanks will spotlight how open science and data-driven initiatives are paving a more effective path toward therapies.

FasterCures Program Updates

Policy and Process

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

Partnering for Cures Innovator Presentations

Briefing focuses on importance of translating discoveries into cures
FasterCures hosted more than 100 Congressional staffers, patient advocates, academics, and drug developers at a Capitol Hill briefing about the importance of federal support for translational research, the phase of medical R&D between the birth of a basic scientific discovery made in the lab and when a pharmaceutical company tests out a potential new therapy with patients. The briefing featured opening remarks from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and a panel of Chris Austin of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), Francis Collins of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Simeon Taylor of Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sharon Terry of Genetic Alliance, and moderated by Margaret Anderson of FasterCures.


How investing in the Human Genome Project led to $1 trillion return
United for Medical Research and Battelle released a report, "The Impact of Genomics on the U.S. Economy," that showed every $1 invested in the Human Genome Project has triggered $178 in U.S. economic activity. Check out our blog on the report and a Capitol Hill briefing that featured NIH Director Francis Collins. FasterCures is a member of United for Medical Research.

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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.

Apply Now

Apply now to present your innovative collaboration at Partnering for Cures
Apply by July 31 to present your innovative, cross-sector collaboration at Partnering for Cures, where you will have an opportunity to engage potential investors, partners, and collaborators in moving your existing initiative forward or amplifying the impact of your approach. And registration is now open for the meeting, to be held Nov. 3-5 in New York. Be part of medical research's most forward-thinking, outcomes-oriented, and patient-focused event.

IP Intersection

Find the latest news and resources on intellectual property
FasterCures' TRAIN (The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network) has debuted the Intellectual Property Intersection to serve as a base for increasing interaction and fostering relationships among emerging nonprofit disease groups, patient advocates, technology transfer professionals, and other stakeholders. The page features best practices, case studies, sample templates, relevant news, and more.

IP Intersection


View archive of Webinar on LLS' Therapy Acceleration Program
FasterCures has long believed that philanthropy can be a significant force for progress in medical research, when applied strategically. In an extremely informative Webinar on June 19, participants heard about a terrific example of the strategic application of philanthropy at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in its Therapy Acceleration Program. View the summary, slides, and archive.



IP Intersection

Payor community partnerships take center stage
As a keynote speaker at America's Health Insurance Plans' Institute 2013, held June 12-14 in Las Vegas, Margaret Anderson, executive director of FasterCures, discussed accelerating disruptive innovation throughout healthcare. "Every second is urgent," Anderson told the health insurance leaders gathered for the talk. Anderson's remarks are explored in this blog from the Smartblog on Leadership.

  • Participating organizations of FasterCures' TRAIN (The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network) are coming together with payors, product developers, providers, and government officials to discuss payor issues in-depth this week during a day-long workshop. Look for a summary of the discussion on tumblr and in next month's FasterCures Track newsletter.

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Our goal: Increase patient engagement in research.

Advancing precision medicine to the clinic
It's a good sign of progress when the barriers for translational medicine seem to move toward the less complex – from the technological challenges to the logistical. Scientists can now access technology that allows them to perform cutting-edge molecular analysis on actual human biospecimens, regardless of their research institution. Read our blog on the promise of precision medicine.

Why does medical research matter to you? Share your story today
Add your story to the 120 that are a part of our Time=Lives campaign, which illustrates how saving time in medical research can save lives.

Finding cures and meaningful treatment options for rare diseases is a cause Gene Williams cares deeply about both professionally and personally. He is both the chairman and CEO of DART Therapeutics as well as the father of a son with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed in young boys.

The patient is where it all begins and where it all ends," says Kim McCleary, a leader in the chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome community and an advocate for a more patient-centered approach to healthcare and medical research.

As vice president of public affairs at the Association of Clinical Research Organizations, John Lewis understands the importance of supporting medical research. "Ultimately we'll all be patients," he says.

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

Case studies explore novel approaches to drug development
Our Fixes in Financing series has now highlighted 10 case studies that help to address the need for novel approaches to early-stage drug development in the biopharmaceutical industry. The models include revolving funds, precompetitive alliances, independent nonprofits, and more.

Tools You Can Use

Translational Research

Download a translational research resource, which includes the importance of translational research, the stages of medical research, and the players who are translating science into cures.




Did you know that every $1 invested in the Human Genome Project has triggered $178 in U.S. economic activity? Download and share striking graphics from United for Medical Research.

Until next issue

If you have questions or would like more information about any of the items above, please contact

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