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Jumpstarting Research: Big Pharma's Out-Licensing Dilemma

Executive Summary

At Windhover's Jumpstart to Products Conference, a number of speakers, including Merck's head of basic research, argued--at least by implication--that Big Pharma needs to do more of the kinds of reformulations and re-indications of existing compounds that net them products faster and with less risk--that allow them to "jumpstart" R&D. For biotechs pursuing a similar strategy, getting starter material--in the form of compounds Pharma has abandoned--is crucial, though few Pharmas are willing to out-license. Lilly is the great exception to this rule: the company's Joe Zakrzewski argues why outlicensing is critical to his firm's success.

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