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Mauricio Tohen

Collaboration in Industry

Posted on January 15, 2009

The pharmaceutical industry often works with other researchers to design and implement their studies, explains Mauricio Tohen (bio).


Who designs studies in industry? It really depends. If a company has an expert, like myself, in bipolar disorder, I will. In fact, the studies that we've conducted, I've been the lead investigator, but two, three, four, five, six minds work better than one. So, I design the studies, but I always work with other colleagues within Lilly, statisticians, other physicians, and also with external collaborators. It's always very important to have collaborations, but that, you need to do it either in industry or in academia. So, we rely also on getting feedback from other investigators.

The pharmaceutical industry has to collaborate with academia and, for that matter, with clinicians, because, certainly, the pharmaceutical industry doesn't have patients, doesn't have access to patients. So, all studies include patients that are recruited either in academic institutions or at clinical settings.

But you have two types of collaboration. In terms of the design of the study, you will seek the advice of other experts in the field: people who have done other studies. That's one type of collaboration.

Another type of collaboration is actually the implementation of the study, and they are, in fact, in order to conduct the study you don't have to be an expert in a particular condition of bipolar disorder. The expertise also is in terms of the implementation of clinical trials. Right? In other words, that you should be able to follow the protocol, understand the protocol, implement the protocol, recruit the patients, looking at the safety of patients. And there are clinicians out there who do that and do it very well; not only those in academic centers, but also others in private centers, so to speak.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2008 Leadership Training Institute in Bethesda, MD.


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