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Focus on Pharma

The Center for Biomedical Innovation is launched.

The institute’s latest multidisciplinary center–the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation, which launched in July–is aiming to develop safer and more-efficient ways to commercialize pharmaceutical advances.

The center will include Institute researchers in science, engineering, and management, as well as scientists at Harvard Medical School. It will also draw on experts from government and industry to participate in research programs in policy, financial and risk assessment, and management. The center will be funded by government agencies, philanthropic organizations, and industry consortia.

In her keynote address at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council in May, MIT president Susan Hockfield said that the center will be a “safe harbor” where leaders in business, government, and academia can work on issues including drug safety; management of economic, financial, and regulatory risk; and manufacturing and delivery systems.

“The current system just isn’t working well anymore,” Hockfield said. “The productivity of large pharmaceutical innovation is declining. We can’t predict properly the side effects of new compounds, and we don’t have good ways to monitor and assess them once they are in the market.”

The center will not have its own laboratories; instead, it will collaborate with existing academic and commercial laboratories and hospitals. But it will focus heavily on real-world problems, and will combine technical and management solutions. The end result, the researchers hope, will be better and less expensive health care. – By Lisa Scanlon

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