Drug Development Institute

Where Pelotonia Funds Help Translate OSUCCC – James Discoveries Into New Cancer Treatments

Jeff PatrickThe Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC) is a place where discovery is focused on understanding how cancer works and how we might beat it.

These discoveries are thefoundation for new cancer treatments. Promising discoveries then enter the “drug development process,” a myriad of activities that must align and be completed before a new drug can be marketed.

These activities are typically in the purview of pharmaceutical companies, which specialize in taking ideas from the laboratory through product development, manufacturing, review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and clinical trials.

Thanks to the support of Pelotonia, the Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Foundation and other philanthropic sources, Ohio State has a team at the Drug Development Institute (DDI), which is dedicated to steering new discoveries through the preclinical drug development process.

Pelotonia funds help support such project costs as research reagents, cellular assays, chemical manufacturing and specialized analytics. Funds are used judiciously to build value into DDI-invested projects.

The DDI, led by Jeff Patrick, PharmD, is a biotech-like institute staffed by scientists who have previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry and have diverse experience in bringing new therapies to market.

An external advisory board provides scientific, clinical and strategic guidance. It is made up of pharmaceutical industry executives and expert OSUCCC physician-scientists John C. Byrd, MD, and David Carbone, MD, PhD.

The DDI has an innovative, cancer-focused portfolio and continuously evaluates new projects to add to its pipeline. In all, the DDI has evaluated over 100 potential projects for investment, with seven projects currently under management.

A key consideration is whether a project addresses an unmet need of a patient population.

When the DDI invests in a project, it builds a collaborative team that is tailored to the project’s specific needs. This could include a chemist to synthesize molecules to target a specific pathway, or a regulatory consultant to help approach the FDA about starting a clinical trial.

The DDI team develops a project plan that includes timelines and criteria for success. It coordinates and streamlines activities to ensure that projects reach milestones efficiently and on budget. Effective management of these activities is essential for reducing the costs and delays of translating good research ideas into candidates for clinical trials testing.

When a project reaches the point where a biotech or pharma company must continue its development, the DDI works to partner the project with the pharmaceutical industry.

That partnering point may come early or when a project has matured, but the DDI exists to “de-risk” therapeutic candidates so they are more likely to reach the patients who need them.

The DDI plays an important collaborative role at the OSUCCC – James, which conducts such a high volume of outstanding basic research. It is here as a partner to help grow discoveries into new cancer treatments.

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