Kinase Land Grab

Novartis takes hands off approach

OXFORD - Novartis Pharma AG is looking hard for a biotech R&D model that will allow it to develop druggable compounds more efficiently. Last week it unveiled the latest test model when it announced a headline collaboration with Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., which introduces a hands off approach reminiscent of Roche's association with Genentech Inc.

"Many new technologies are emerging for drug discovery and we certainly have access to all of them. The key is how to productively deploy all these technologies into an efficient drug discovery process," said Paul Herrling, head of global R&D at Novartis (SWX:NOVN, Basel, Switzerland). "I don't think anyone has the answer of how to do that. We are thinking that we need to experiment with different models in which we can leverage the advantages of size while maintaining environments where scientists can be creative, retain autonomy and operate with short decision pathways."