One way to raise sufficient funds to develop compounds without giving up control over the development process to corporate partners is via R&D funding vehicles. That was the idea behind Icos Clinical Partners L.P., which has raised $87.5 million to develop a growing portfolio of ICOS compounds (see B2 and B14).

"It allows us to keep control of the development cycle," said Gary Wilcox, ICOS' executive vice president of operations. "With a corporate partnership, it's very difficult to get the perfect alignment, or even an acceptable alignment. These products mean everything to us. For a Merck, with 150 products in development, ours might be 151st."