Evaluation of the Structural Genomics Consortium

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Background

Established in 2004, the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership formed to support drug-discovery through pre-competitive structural biology research (namely large scale, cost-effective determination of 3D protein structures of biomedical importance). Its focus has expanded to include chemical probes and antibodies aimed at delivering open access reagents for epigenetics research.

Goals

Currently approaching the end of its third phase, the SGC commissioned RAND Europe and the Institute on Governance in Canada to provide an evaluation of the SGC's unique, open-access model, to understand the nature and diversity of its benefits for partnering organisations as well as for the wider research community.

Our evaluation took a multi-method, stakeholder-inclusive form, exploring SGC's achievements and challenges. We also evaluated the implications of the SGC business model and similar emerging models involving public-private partnerships and open innovation on drug discovery.

Results

Overall the study found that the Structural Genomics Consortium is a viable model for drug discovery that appeals to investors, not least for advantages in efficiency over current models of public or commercial health research. Specific findings include:

  • research by SGC is viewed as reliable and highly reproducible, which is valued by investors
  • many investors view the SGC as a way to “de-risk” novel areas of science
  • many stakeholders cited the fact that the SGC enables rapid and efficient research processes as an incentive for investment
  • open access facilitates extensive collaborations across public and private sectors and was welcomed by the clear majority of interviewees
  • the mix of public and private investment in the SGC allows it to remain innovative and efficient, in terms of the structures it studies and the methods it develops.

“Along with its world-class scientific expertise, the extensive collaborations between academia and industry were the most frequently mentioned strength of the SGC; and making the results open access also facilitates collaboration,” said Molly Morgan Jones, lead author of the report and Associate Director of Innovation and Technology Policy at RAND Europe.

Publications

Project Team

Joanna Chataway, co-project leader
Molly Morgan Jones, co-project leader
Sophie Castle-Clarke, project manager
Gavin Cochrane
Petal Jean Hackett
Catriona Manville
Sonja Marjanovic
Steven Wooding
Eddy Nason, Institute on Governance