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FasterCures Releases Framework Report on Medical Research Consortia

A quantitative and qualitative analysis of the emerging model of collaboration-by-consortium

June 3, 2014 (WASHINGTON) – FasterCures, a Center of the Milken Institute, today released its Consortia-pedia Framework Report, which analyzes a wide range of existing biomedical research consortia to understand the operational tools and metrics used to start and run these complex collaborations.  It is part of the larger Consortia-pedia project, launched by FasterCures in 2013 to assess the breadth and scope of approaches that a wide range of consortia have adopted to bring together non-traditional partners with a shared research and development goal. 

The concept of collaboration is not new to biomedical research and it comes in all forms. In addition to the challenge of understanding the biology of disease, researchers are continuously introduced to new tools that increase our ability to discover and develop drugs. However, these tools are complex and no single researcher - and very few organizations - has all the expertise and resources to take the challenge on their own.

Collaborations between competing organizations used to be a rarity, but now they are bread-and-butter of biomedical research. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the explosion of research consortia around the globe. FasterCures identified 387 consortia that have been launched since 1995, with 62 in 2012 alone.  However, the landscape has gone largely unmapped, resulting in confusion about the multitude of efforts and mechanisms for participation.

“This model of partnership provides a neutral ground to coordinate the sharing of risks, costs, resources, data, and expertise in the pursuit of a unified research mission,” said Mark Lim, FasterCures’ Associate Director of Medical Research innovation. “However, science has gotten more complex, so it’s hard for people developing medical products to answer all the questions they have. This report helps to establish a framework around the most commonly asked questions about designing and managing a consortium.”

In this report, FasterCures analyzes 21 consortia that represent the diversity of models used to bring together cross-sector partners to accelerate biomedical research.  Since most consortia are still in the early stages of implementation with a wide variability in mission and governance, there is no attempt to directly compare or rank consortia. Instead, analysis is presented under seven partnership components highlighting existing models, each of which can be downloaded at:

  1. Governance
  2. Financing
  3. Human Capital
  4. Intellectual Property
  5. Data Sharing
  6. Patient Participation
  7. Measurement of Impact

Key Findings

Sectors That Initiate Consortia

  • Industry (16%)
  • Academia (9%)
  • Healthcare systems (2%)
  • Third Party Organizations (21%)
  • Foundations/Nonprofits (8%)
  • Government (44%)

Top Patient Populations Addressed by Consortia

  • Tuberculosis (9)
  • Diabetes (15)
  • Alzheimer’s (17)
  • Rare Diseases (28)
  • Cancer (42)

Products Created By Consortia

  • Broadly-Used Tools (45%)
    • Defined as standards, methods, or technologies that can used by all stakeholders to advance their independent research
  • Biomarkers (26%)
  • Specific Products (16%)
  • Fundamental Scientific Knowledge (13%)

Data Sharing Trends

  • 1 in 4 product development consortia are creating data sharing platforms
  • 3 in 10 tool-developing consortia are focused on methods or standards for data sharing 

“While written primarily with these audiences in mind,” said FasterCures Executive Director Margaret Anderson “the report also serves as valuable tool for any entity wishing to better understand the collaboration-by-consortium trend and its impact on medical research and development – including payors, government, providers, industry, academia, patients, nonprofits and investors.”  The report also details common traits shared by successful consortia and roadmap recommendations for organizations seeking to initiate or join their own consortium. 

Download the report.


Media Inquiries: Cecilia Arradaza,, 202-336-8912

To include your consortium in the project: Mark Lim,, 202-336-8918