SOURCE: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

July 06, 2010 12:00 ET

HHS Secretary Sebelius Joins Leaders From the National Institutes of Health, Food & Drug Administration and Academia to Discuss New Roles in Drug Discovery and Development

KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwire - July 6, 2010) -  Academic institutions across the United States are playing a critical role in developing life-saving treatments, procedures and innovations, and must be supported by a public policy agenda designed to foster continued growth and investment, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told a gathering of leaders from the public and private sectors here today. Friends of Cancer Research, Kansas Bioscience Authority, The University of Kansas Cancer Center, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and Council for American Medical Innovation convened today's symposium titled The New Role of Academia in Drug Discovery and Development: New Thinking, New Competencies, New Results.

The program also included a moderated discussion with Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Dr. Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on agency perspectives to fostering innovation and increased collaboration. The discussion was moderated by former U.S. House Majority Leader and Chairman of the Council for American Medical Innovation, Richard Gephardt.

"This is a rare opportunity for anyone involved in cancer research and drug development," said Roy A. Jensen, M.D., director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center. "To have so many key policy makers, academics, industry-leaders, and the non-profit community represented, discussing ways to drive new collaborations is extraordinary. As universities' appetites for commercializing research grow and high-throughput platforms are increasingly adopted in public research programs, we seem to be seeing a new paradigm for drug discovery. We feel The University of Kansas Cancer Center is leading this effort in the new innovation ecosystem." 

The day-long town hall, a result of collaboration between several like-minded organizations, explored drug development from the perspectives of thought-leaders from academia, government, industry and the nonprofit sector.

"This town hall, and the participation by scientific leadership at the highest levels, is an important step toward much-needed increased interagency collaboration," said Dr. Ellen Sigal, chair, Friends of Cancer Research. "The proposals discussed today will accelerate the process to help get scientific breakthroughs to patients. Without collaboration among all agencies and academic centers, the full potential of biomedical research may be stifled." 

"Discoveries from our academic labs fuel millions of jobs, spur small business, and promote innovation. The time is right for a fundamental re-examination of the changing role of academic institutions in the innovation process," said Tom Thornton, president and chief executive officer, Kansas Bioscience Authority.

About Friends of Cancer Research

Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) is a cancer research think tank based in the Washington, D.C. area. Working with the entire cancer research and advocacy community, Friends pioneers innovative public-private partnerships, organizes critical policy forums, educates the public, and brings together key stakeholders to overcome the barriers standing between patients and the most promising cancer treatments.

About The University of Kansas Cancer Center

At The University of Kansas Cancer Center, we are more than an academic cancer center; we are a unique community-based cancer research and care partnership focused on one mission: eliminating the burden of cancer. The University of Kansas Cancer Center is transforming cancer research and clinical care by linking our innovative approach to drug discovery, delivery and development to our nationally accredited patient care program.

About the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare.

About the Council for American Medical Innovation

The United States faces serious challenges to maintaining its leadership position in innovation. The Council for American Medical Innovation is bringing together leaders in research, medicine, public health, academia, education, labor, investment and business, who are working in partnership toward a national policy agenda aimed at preserving U.S. leadership in medical innovation. American medical innovators create millions of high-paying jobs, and their discoveries are integral in the fight to cure cancer and other illnesses. The Council for American Medical Innovation views leadership in medical innovation as a key part of America's economic recovery, future prosperity and health.

About the Kansas Bioscience Authority

The KBA is a $581 million initiative that is advancing Kansas' national bioscience leadership by building world-class research capacity; fostering the formation and growth of bioscience startups; supporting expansion of the state's bioscience clusters; and facilitating industrial expansion and attraction.

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