I had an interesting phone conversation yesterday with Jerry Matczak, Community Manager, Lilly Clinical Open Innovation, Eli Lilly and Company. Yes, “Open” and “Innovation” together in the same phrase from a pharmaceutical company – OMG! LCOI is the acronym for Lilly Clinical Open Innovation, a venture that Lilly hopes “can transform clinical research and development.” How will they achieve this? “We look to engage in the open for insight, innovation, talent and wisdom to drive new capabilities to fight disease and meet patient needs.” There it is again, “open” and “innovation” in the same sentence.
The devil is in the details and I hope to interview Mr. Matczak soon on my Pharma Marketing Talk show.
It’s was a happy coincidence that my conversation with Matczak followed yesterday’s show about “Pharma Wikipedians: The Pros and Cons of Pharma Employees Editing Wikipedia Articles” (use the playback widget below to listen to that podcast).
An even happier “coincidence” was an audio commentary from my friend Brad Pendergraph (@bradatpharma), former Senior Manager, Consumer Digital and Social Engagement at Novartis, in response to a question raised during my show.
Brad posted his commentary to Audioboo, which is “a simple way of recording audio while on the move and adding as much useful data to it as possible, such as photos, tags and location.” Audioboo is the audio equivalent of Twitter — you can record as many 3-minute audio messages from your smartphone as you like. I signed up immediately so that I can post Auioboo comments while on the road at drug industry conferences.
In his audio commentary, Brad touched upon how pharma deals with proprietary information. “Is pharma really going to let some of its information ‘go general’?,” Brad asked. He mentioned “creative commons” and “taking a look at what material you [pharma] have and figuring out how you can distribute it to people in the social media space in ways that they can understand and work with that are still compliant.” Brad was suggesting pharma use creative commons rather than the more restrictive copyright when distributing information. Listen to his comments using this Audioboo playback widget:
Meanwhile, back at LCOI, here’s their take on “open Innovation” published on the LCOI website (here):
There’s plenty of evidence that drug development is broken. The estimated efficacy rate of drugs for many common illnesses comes in at 50% or below, and a recent Forbes article by Matt Herper suggests the cost of bringing a new drug to patients is twice the already-big-number commonly used – over $4 billion per drug.
Patients need better.
The Lilly Clinical Open Innovation team exists to make it better. We believe that Open Innovation models – focused on clinical drug development – can result in transformational gains in value-to-patients and efficiency.
We also believe that open data, linked, crowdsourced, consumed and curated by experts outside (as well as inside) the walls of pharma will bring innovative insights and wisdom. And that open communities will set and meet objectives to reduce costs and improve outcomes.
We’ll explore challenge driven innovation and gamification to tap into expertise which might otherwise be missed. We embrace open source development to maximize technical contribution and benefit, and will Work Out Loud to assure transparency on our projects. To manage rights in a distributed digital age we leverage Creative Commons licensing. In the open, with no strings attached.
That’s a lot of buzzwords, and even more to actually try to do. Too much for the smallish Lilly COI group for sure – but that’s kind of the point. Open Innovation promises that we can all play bigger than we are, and enables greater innovation than any individual or organization can accomplish on it’s own.
Keep tuned for an announcement of an upcoming show where I will interview Jerry and Brad about “Open Source Pharma.”