Drug Industry Pegs Pitfalls of Keeping Data Proprietary
Speakers at the BIO conference in Philadelphia say the drug industry needs to find a way to make data "precompetitive," so that any common gain that comes from data mining is not seen as a private loss.Using data, rather than collecting it, was on several attendees minds at the Biotechnology Industry Organization conference in Philadelphia, but ideas about the best way forward may be headed for a clash. Scientists today can generate data in a single afternoon that previously would have required years of work and been considered worthy of a doctoral thesis. But no one seems to be using this data well, largely because neither intellectual property law, information systems nor scientific training allow researchers to wrest valuable secrets from these masses of data. "We can generate huge amounts of data, far more than we can interpret," said Duncan McHale, director of clinical pharmacogenomics at Pfizer Global R&D, who spoke at a panel on industry-academia relationships.
But McHale said companies hold onto the data as proprietary rather than share it in a way that might make trials faster and avoid years on drugs making more and more mistakes. The drug industry is reinventing a lot of wheels, and some expensive ones at that.