The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) provides a preclinical innovation Think Tank program that serves as a one-stop-shop for researchers. The Think Tank program, which was launched in March 2021, provides guidance from advisors who are experts in the drug and device industry. Each advisor serves as an essential resource, with knowledge of a wide range of scientific, technical, clinical, business, and regulatory information.
“The experience has turned out to be very helpful to my research which has become translational in nature,” said Bonnie Blazer-Yost, PhD, professor of biology at IUPUI. “The expertise ‘in the room’ during a meeting with a Think Tank group is extraordinary. One gets rapid-fire opinions and reality testing from scientists who have worked in the pharmaceutical industry and know the ins and outs of drug development.”
Think Tank projects are guided from start to finish with a tracking system and milestone-based funding to help generate data for Investigational New Drug (IND) or Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) applications, small business grants such as the National institute of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs, or commercialization. Researchers from all Indiana CTSI campuses are encouraged to utilize the Think Tanks.
“The review panel was forthright, asked great questions, and gave candid guidance,” said Prakash Nallathamby, PhD, research assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Notre Dame. “We went through two cycles of Q&A before we were approved for some seed funding. Looking forward to their continued input as we seek to translate this IP for real-world applications.”
“It is a terrific program,” said Janaiah Kota, PhD, assistant research professor of medical and molecular genetics at IU School of Medicine. “The committee has a diverse expertise both from academia and industry, and it provides a very constructive input for product development.”
“The feedback I received from the group was concrete, positive, and based on real-world drug development experience,” said Timothy Corson, PhD, associate professor of ophthalmology at IU School of Medicine. “I would absolutely recommend the program to anyone working on or even considering commercializing a potential drug. It is a rare opportunity to gain insight from a high-powered group of arms-length experts in all aspects of the drug commercialization process.”
The Drug Think Tank program is co-chaired by Andrew Dahlem, PhD, chief of clinical pharmacology and senior research professor of medicine at IU School of Medicine, and Richard Taylor, PhD, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame and director of the Molecular Therapeutics Program for the Indiana CTSI. The Device Think Tank program is co-chaired by Andrew Brightman, PhD, assistant head of biomedical engineering and associate professor of engineering practice at Purdue University, and Thomas O’Sullivan, PhD, assistant professor in the department of electrical engineering at the University of Notre Dame.
“This is a great place to receive backing from advisors at the top of their profession,” said Taylor. “It’s a great source of expertise.”