Sanofi US launches second PiPH innovation challenge to improve drug development process

Developing approaches for involving patients in drug development

Today, Sanofi US launched its second Partners in Patient Health (PiPH) Innovation Challenge: Collaborate | Innovate, which will award $100,000 to the winning team. This year's theme is "Co-Creating for Breakthroughs: Moving toward a collaborative research and development ecosystem." The Challenge calls on non-profit patient, provider and professional associations to partner with other associations and/or academic institutions to propose new approaches which translate patient insights into improvements in the drug development process.

A treatment breakthrough can cost billions of dollars and decades of time to research. Patient organizations are in the position of helping patients and their constituents to play an important role in research and development (R&D). Patient involvement in the entire process can lead to improvements in efficiency and effectiveness of industry efforts in developing new therapies.

"Patients can influence each phase of the R&D process from initial drug discovery, to clinical trial development, participation and post-approval monitoring," said Marc Bonnefoi, Head of North America R&D at Sanofi. "This year's Innovation Challenge will promote collaboration across a diverse community of patient advocates to put patients at the heart of the R&D process, which can ultimately improve their health outcomes and those of others who will benefit from access to new and innovative solutions."

For consideration, the entries must meet the following criteria:

  • Proposed ideas should focus on translating patient insights into improvements in the various stages of drug development.
  • Submissions should include measurable goals with a clear view toward creating a proof-of-concept.
  • The primary entrant must be a non-profit patient, provider or professional association partnering with one or more of the following: another non-profit patient, provider or professional association and/or an academic institution. A multidisciplinary approach is highly encouraged. All team members must be legally based in the U.S.

The submission period will remain open until February 23, 2014 and four finalist teams will be announced on March 17th. The four Challenge finalists will enter into a Virtual Accelerator stage, which includes a period of rigorous mentorship with industry experts. Final judging will take place in April 2014.

The first PiPH Innovation Challenge, launched in 2012, saw a tremendous response, including 128 submissions from more than 280 partnering organizations that were motivated to help patients engage in their health across a broad range of therapeutic areas. The winner, Registries for All Diseases, received an award to create a comprehensive, crowdsourced, cross-disease registry to help accelerate translational research for over 1,000 diseases. The winning team consisted of partnering organizations Genetic Alliance, CFIDS Association of America, National Psoriasis Foundation, and the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

"The Challenge was incredibly meaningful for us. In addition to the value of the award, which enabled us to move our initiative forward, the Challenge gave us exposure to other groups and allowed us to build relationships," said Sharon Terry, President and CEO of Genetic Alliance. "Creating patient-centered solutions can empower people to participate in their own health and contribute to advancements in care."

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