Pistoia Alliance Sets Out Plans to Tackle Emerging Tech, R&D Efficiency, and Patient Empowerment with New Strategic Themes

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The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit alliance that advocates for greater collaboration in life sciences R&D, has set out plans to respond to the changing needs of the life science industry as digital transformation accelerates. The Alliance will reorganise its project portfolio into three new themes – Emerging Science and Technology, Improving the Efficiency and Effectiveness of R&D, and Empowering the Patient – and has hired three innovation leads for each area. The themes were developed by the Alliance in consultation with its members, its Advisory Board, and through reviewing scientific literature and trends. The themes will build on the work of the Alliance from the past fifteen years; helping R&D-led organisations tackle the biggest global health challenges both today and in the future, as identified in the Pistoia Alliance 2030 Report, with the ultimate goal of getting treatments to patients faster.

“Our mission has always been to advance public health through collaboration. As we build on our existing successes, these themes will allow us to align ourselves with the biggest challenges across the life sciences industry,” commented Dr Steve Arlington, President of the Pistoia Alliance. “The Alliance has always recognised that tackling major health challenges requires a stable underlying infrastructure. Areas like data governance and standards are just as important as headline grabbing “moonshot” initiatives. We give our members the most powerful forum for collaboration to take on such challenges together. We break down walls between companies and overcome cultural barriers to collaboration to deliver projects with tangible outcomes that are catalysts to achieving bigger goals. Now, we’re asking members to come forward and suggest their ideas under these new themes.”

As part of this evolution, The Pistoia Alliance has appointed three new experts to lead collaboration efforts in these areas: Imran Haq, Anca Ciobanu and Linda Kasim. The themes will include:

Emerging Science and Technology: This theme will explore the potential of nascent technology to reshape R&D. The Alliance will look to accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies and be the first port of call for members accessing it for the first time; it will initially focus on Quantum Computing and the Microbiome. This theme is led by Imran Haq, who has worked at the interface between industry and early-stage life sciences research throughout his career, including at top tier universities, with large pharma, and within start-up companies.

Improving the Efficiency and Effectiveness of R&D: This theme will aim to drive transformation and reduce barriers to innovation in R&D by solving common pain points that scientists encounter. For example, data governance issues, company reluctance to adopt new technologies, or difficulty providing use cases that prove value. This theme is led by Anca Ciobanu, who is a leading consultant and product manager to global pharma and biotechnology companies.

Empowering the Patient: This theme will build trust in the industry by engaging the patient to play a role in co-designing research and services. Projects will decrease the burden on the patient, encourage shared decision making, and tackle ethics and privacy issues to build trust. It will also look to find opportunities to strengthen patient-pharma relationships ensuring early collaboration and explore opportunities to leverage digital health using patient generated data to develop more meaningful clinical endpoints when designing clinical trials. This theme is led by Linda Kasim, a leader in clinical trials with experience at numerous global top pharma companies.

“What sets the Pistoia Alliance apart is that it exists for the benefit of its members, bringing together research-focused experts from multiple disciplines to make change happen,” comments Dr Jim Sullivan, CEO Vanqua Bio, former Vice President Discovery at AbbVie and member of the Pistoia Alliance Advisory Board. “I am confident these themes will ensure the Alliance helps its members to make even more breakthroughs. These themes will not only support innovation in the lab, they will bring new therapeutics to fruition sooner and produce results that reach back to patients – who are the most important stakeholder of all.”

The strategic themes will be discussed in more detail at The Pistoia Alliance Fall Conference: Digital Transformation in R&D. This will be a members-only opportunity to collaborate, network and suggest ideas for new projects. If you are considering joining or would like to learn more, you can contact info@pistoiaalliance.org.

About The Pistoia Alliance:

The Pistoia Alliance is a global, not-for-profit members’ organization made up of life science companies, technology and service providers, publishers, and academic groups working to lower barriers to innovation in life science and healthcare R&D. It was conceived in 2007 and incorporated in 2009 by representatives of AstraZeneca, GSK, Novartis and Pfizer who met at a conference in Pistoia, Italy. Its projects transform R&D through pre-competitive collaboration. It overcomes common R&D obstacles by identifying the root causes, developing standards and best practices, sharing pre-competitive data and knowledge, and implementing technology pilots. There are currently over 150 member companies; members collaborate on projects that generate significant value for the worldwide life sciences R&D community, using The Pistoia Alliance’s proven framework for open innovation.