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Back to School 2020 

Having touched the third rail of data sharing in the pandemic, drug developers should hold on tight

COVID-19 has lit a path to greater data sharing

COVID-19 has lit a path to greater data sharing.

Sep 10, 2020 | 1:15 AM GMT

This is the third article in BioCentury’s 28th Annual Back to School package. In the opening piece, BioCentury called on biopharma to convert its COVID response to a new era of efficient drug development. 

Biopharma companies have come together to share data in COVID-19 because they believe that getting data out fast and wide is the best way to expedite development.

Carving that in stone after the pandemic would send a strong message the industry is ready to begin a new chapter, where data sharing will speed up drug development and increase success rates. Having seen the fruits of this for COVID-19, the public will expect no less in its aftermath.

Data sharing doesn’t come easily. It goes against decades of practice, built on the conviction that a company’s competitive position is protected by keeping secret as much as possible for as long as possible.

Nevertheless, the pandemic has injected huge energy into sharing. Within and across the large-scale COVID-19 consortia, pharmas are driving the sharing of information across the drug development continuum, from sharing preclinical assets and harmonizing assays to sharing clinical trial data as they emerge.

“Clearly, with COVID-19, the industry learned that the precompetitive space is much broader than it’s historically been,” Vasant Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS; SIX:NOVN), told BioCentury. “We’ve always had some level of precompetitive alliance and efforts — various clinical trials and preclinical efforts — but I think that’s now all gone to scale.”

Novartis is involved in the three

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