What is the benefit or value you're creating for your business?
Developing companion diagnostics helps GSK ensure that only the patients that can benefit from our medicines are taking them, which minimizes cost to patients and prevents their unnecessary exposure. GSK continues to be viewed as contributing to the improvement in welfare around the world, ensuring that our future patients can trust us. The scientific expertise, understanding of the regulatory approval framework and distribution networks with our government, institutional, commercial and NGO contacts that GSK brings will impact patients globally.
How are you leveraging internal resources (funds, time, knowledge, etc.) to support this initiative?
The team have coordinated scientific experts from across GSK clinical and research organisations to advise on the project with pro-bono resource. Using internal social networks designed to allow easier collaboration (called GSK Mingle), the team have identified interested internal and external partners quickly, by-passing the traditional, commercially driven funding cycles. Through our networks we have identified experts at Rexam, Millipore, and external packaging manufacturers to advise the team and worked closely with the academic and clinical teams at weekly meetings to reach project milestones. Funding has been leveraged from the senior leaders in R&D to allow travel and seed funding of the projects.
Expand on your answer, explaining the long-term funding and support plan.
The goal of the project is to take the diagnostics through the approval process with regulators in the US/EU over the next 1-3 years. The process will be funded with grants from external organisations (Gates, USAID) and with in-kind/pro-bono donations of resource and support from internal and external partners. The industrial/academic partnership is open and transparent offering resources which benefit the project when necessary. GSK has a clear policy that intellectual property from the project can be leveraged by the partners as long as the products can be supplied through GSK at a low enough price to allow access in least developed countries.
Tell us about your partnerships across your company and externally that are key to your project's success.
Partnerships with internal groups in R&D have allowed scientists with varying expertise to come together on a pro-bono/microvolunteering basis. From chemical stability, biological assays, device development, commercial expertise and clinical development, the experts have taken time out of their day jobs to contribute time and energy with no complaints. The same scientific rigour can be brought to global health projects leveraging the world leading manufacturers (e.g. Rexam)
What internal support have you gotten for your project? What kind of push-back have you received?
Senior leaders (including head of R&D Moncef Slaoui and head of Platforms John Baldoni) have both been instrumental in leveraging internal resource for these projects. We have mainly operated under the radar but at the times when support has been requested we have been delighted to receive it unconditionally. As our 'day-jobs' fill our time, the main push-back will come when major investment is needed, but we plan to fill these gaps by leverage through institutional funding.