Taking a research idea from bench to bedside is similar to passing a baton between two runners. It is not a simple handoff.

Instead, both runners work together to make the transition mid-stride, ensuring that the baton never stops moving towards the finish line.

In the same way, academia needs to work with industry to move new discoveries along the translational pipeline, from fundamental science to proof-of-concept to development and transfer to market with the ultimate goal of providing better and more affordable patient care.

A fundamental component of the Mass General Research Institute's mission is helping scientists to engage in more productive and long-lasting collaborations with industry at all stages of their work: from basic research and proof of concept (early translation) to development and transfer to market (late translation).

The Office of the Scientific Director has been working toward implementing a more comprehensive early-stage translational research program under the Strategic Alliances Initiative, a pioneering academic model connecting the on-going research at Mass General (research push) to market needs (market pull).

The essential ingredients of this connection are:

  • The development of a comprehensive research portfolio, understandable by potential industry partners, and enabling programmatic efforts around major and well-defined problems to be solved 
  • Establishing a strong working relationship with the Strategic Alliance Committee, an integral part of the Research Institute Advisory Council (RIAC) that brings together key leaders from pharmaceutical, biotech and venture capital communities

The goal is to gain deep understanding of how companies would look at our research programs and to receive guidance on how to best move forward along the translational pathway.

We have also developed the outline of a unique training program to teach Mass General scientists why and how to think about potential translational applications of their research, how to develop a plan that includes research, intellectual property and business perspectives, how to build and manage a translation team, and how to interact with industry.

For more information about the Strategic Alliance initiative, please contact us at researchinstitute@mgh.harvard.edu

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