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Innovating in the Industry's Backwaters: TransForm's Deals with Lilly and Alza

Executive Summary

Too often, new discovery platforms brought in from biotechs have increased the risk and complexity of the R&D process. Drug companies have begun to recognize this and have been cutting back on their discovery dealmaking. Thus, at a time when many platform-based start-ups are having trouble interesting Big Pharma in dealmaking, it is notable that TransForm Pharmaceuticals has managed to announce two major deals this month, both of which explicitly address the issue of R&D risk.

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Jumpstart to Products

Discovery research is an ever more difficult investment to justify, so companies are placing greater emphasis on mining discoveries that have already been made but whose real value remains unexploited. Big Pharma, in part inhibited by habit and current infrastructure, has not moved aggressively in the new direction-but the jumpstart model now dominates small-company strategies and will increasingly translate into the rest of the industry.

Jumpstart to Products

Discovery research is an ever more difficult investment to justify, so companies are placing greater emphasis on mining discoveries that have already been made but whose real value remains unexploited. Big Pharma, in part inhibited by habit and current infrastructure, has not moved aggressively in the new direction-but the jumpstart model now dominates small-company strategies and will increasingly translate into the rest of the industry.

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