May 16, 2011

Scott and Bennet’s JDRF Adventure

I have written periodically about JDRF’s IDDP program. Occasionally I have had conversations either via email exchanges on on the phone with JDRF’s communications staff about IDDP. For those less interested in alphabet soup, IDDP stands for Industrial Discovery and Development Partnerships. This is a smaller portion of JDRF’s activities as measured in dollar terms, maybe 10% of their funding budget. The goal of IDDP is to help transition discoveries from the lab to therapeutic options in the clinic.

I think the IDDP program is valuable. I am added a link in my sidebar with the Newbie link and Teens that can help anyone interested find more about what I have said about IDDP. (I realize that is probably a very small group.) In time I’ll ad a post that includes other good pieces on the projects.

There is a wide series of gaps between the discoveries we read about in laboratories and the options our care team can prescribe. Each gap being another step along a regulatory process from lab to pharmacy. This path will be followed by better care options and it will be true of any incremental steps to a cure.

Here is what those gaps cumulatively look like.  Bringing a pharmaceutical treatment to market is estimated in one research study cost $1.3 billion, yes with a “B” and take 7.9 years.1

IDDP helps bridge gaps at strategic points. These may be points where industry is less inclined to do take some of the steps along that 1.3 billion dollar process or possibly steps where a type 1 application for a product is not seen by a pharmaceutical company. You can think of it as JDRF helping to push the processes along at key sticking points.

Even representing a fraction of JDRF’s funding budget the amounts involved are substantial. So I believe there is a need for clear communications on what these partnerships entail. I think this is one way that bloggers can serve our community. (This post is about Scott and Bennet's excellent JDRF  adventure, for a primer on IDDP here is a link.)

Last week Scott Strumello and I had the opportunity to to meet with JDRF in their New York offices for an extended conversation on IDDP. I was anxious to have Scott participate. He and I share an interest in writing about the business side of diabetes. We have both written about the IDDP process.

I think he writes in deeper detail while I write try to translate business writing into a more common vernacular. Somewhere in there, between the two of us, I hope folks get an insight they may not otherwise have. I respect and admire Scott’s writing. I consider him a friends and am proud to join him in writing about IDDP. In fact I would not have scheduled a meeting at JDRF without him as every Andy Sipowicz needs a Bobby Simone. I am not sure who is which.

Scott and I with Rachel Steingardt, Joana Casas and Gary Feit of JRFD’s communications team first. We talked about social media and more transparent means of JDRF sharing information in general and the IDDP program specifically.

We were then joined by Richard Insel, MD, JDRF’s Chief Scientific Officer and Karin Hehenberger, MD, Ph.D. Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances. Jeffery Brewer JDRF’s CEO was going to join us but he was ill. (Insert your joke about me making people sick here.) Jeffery has since followed up with an email which was very gracious. I greatly appreciate that as sign of his openness. My good friend Kelly Kunik speaks well of him and that is high praise in my book.

I had scores of questions going in but the question that troubled me the most was this; how could I approach JDRF with detailed and potentially tough questions about IDDP projects and be seen as an advocate of people living with type 1 and not simply a critic? In fact that I think was the real goal. To open lines of communications that could facilitate better communications about these projects. To be able to learn on an ongoing basis share what we learn with the diabetes online community. I think Scott and I were received with respect and developed a level of rapport that will facilitate our future writing on IDDP.

I will close with one point that Dr. Hehenberger made very clear in our conversations. The IDDP program isn’t just about financial investments in specific projects with for profit businesses. More significantly is a sharing and networking of JDRF contacts in a wide variety of labs with a similarly wide set of contacts in industry to help bring the two together to get promising research out of the lab.

Hopefully our meeting was a similar opportunity to bring transparency to IDDP efforts. I hope we can help those of us who Walk with JDRF for a Cure to see IDDP projects as a positive step in the mix of efforts JDRF facilitates.

1 Kaitin K, Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2010) 87 3, 356–361. doi:10.1038/clpt.2009.293

1 comment:

The DL said...

This is really interesting! Thank you for introducing this topic to me, I didn't even know it existed.