Asset Based Drug Development: Barbara Handelin, BioPontis Alliance

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Barbara Handelin, PhD, President, BioPontis Alliances Bio and Contact Info

Listen (6:02) BioPontis, an asset based model for drug development

Listen (8:04) Designing new incentives for academic researchers

Listen (6:07) First finding out where industry partners place value

Listen (3:54) Advantages of an overall view

Listen (6:11) How do you find the best science?

Listen (2:32) Why not create new companies?

Listen (8:32) Virtual model built on strong relationships and new agreements

Listen (4:36) Challenges for a virtual company

BioPontis Alliance is pursuing a new asset based model in drug development. That means the company sees drug candidates through from the original science to early phase without creating companies to develop each drug. Rather, through an alliance of university researchers, a venture fund, CROs and industry partners, BioPontis stays focused on the particular drug candidate, or asset. Dr. Barbara Handelin is the president of BioPontis. She is a veteran entrepreneur and molecular medical geneticist who has pioneered the responsible application of genetics to clinical medicine for over 25 years. In 1987 Dr. Handelin established one of the first commercial DNA testing laboratories at Integrated Genetics (now Genzyme Genetics). After co-founding a gene therapy company in 1995 (Genovo), Dr. Handelin began her own consulting practice, Handelin Associates. She served 10 years as a board member of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R) as well as on a variety of federal committees and advisory panels on ethics in genetic testing.

At BioPontis they are addressing critical problems in the industry. One of these is the misaligned incentives for academic researchers. It's so often the case today that researchers hold back important discoveries until they are able to publish in an important journal and so advance their career. BioPontis has designed agreements to address this protectionism, offering researchers incentives for collaborating more closely. Also, in doing away with the idea that you have to form a company for each new drug candidate--more overhead, more time, more cost--BioPontis focuses instead on 'assets', saving time and money. Barbara talks about the virtual model that's really a hybrid between venture fund and R & D and how this model could very well be the future.

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