As private funding of biomedical research soars, new risks arise
Academic medical centers (AMCs) in the U.S. are navigating an increasing shift in research funding from historic public funding (e.g., NIH) to private sources such as pharma and biotech companies, foundations, and charities, raising a host of new issues related to collaborative research models, intellectual property rights, and scientific and ethical oversight. The potential risks of the new Innovation Network model, supported by private funds and led by an innovation benefactor who also orchestrates the network, are presented in an article published in the peer-reviewed open access journal Healthcare Transformation.
The article entitled "The New Age of Private Research Funding: Be Careful Out There!" is coauthored by Gino Inverso, University of Pennsylvania (UPENN) Health System, Nada Boualam, Wharton School, UPENN, and Kevin B. Mahoney, Perelman School of Medicine, UPENN and the Fox School of Business, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.
The authors discuss the factors essential for the success and strength of an Innovation Network, in which a limited number of AMCs collaborate on a shared research agenda that is supported by a private benefactor, such as a foundation seeking a cure for a specific disease. They warn researchers, physicians, and AMCs of the three main conflicts that exist - financial, scientific, and ethical - when the benefactor of the Innovation Network also manages the network, and recommend the appointment of an independent oversight board.