News

Cleveland Clinic, Numoda partner to speed brain drugs to market

The Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute is creating a hybrid academic research organization through a partnership with Numoda Corp. The Clinic will contribute the medical and clinical trial expertise of its doctors and researchers to the venture. Numoda in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will contribute its clinical trial management technology. The goal is to speed effective neurological drugs […]

The Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute is creating a hybrid academic research organization through a partnership with Numoda Corp.

The Clinic will contribute the medical and clinical trial expertise of its doctors and researchers to the venture. Numoda in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will contribute its clinical trial management technology.

The goal is to speed effective neurological drugs to market and quickly weed out those that don’t work, while lowering the cost of drug development.

“This collaboration will marry advanced academic medical research center knowledge and expertise with administrative agility, allowing us to quickly develop life-enhancing and life-saving treatments,” said Mary Schaheen, Numoda’s CEO, in a Clinic release. “We want to make new treatments for neurological diseases available quickly and at lower costs.”

The “joint venture of equals” is aimed at developing a “one-stop shop” for small and mid-sized drug companies that are sponsoring clinical trials, said Dr. Robert Fox, the Clinic neurologist who is co-directing the joint venture. The two organizations will start with trials for neurological drugs but are likely to expand to other drug types over time.

“The original concept was that large pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Johnson & Johnson typically have the expertise in-house to develop and implement clinical trials,” Fox said. “But the small- to medium-sized  pharmaceutical companies often do not.

“So the idea was to match an academic medical center like Cleveland Clinic with a clinical research organization, which provides all the nuts and bolts of how a clinical trial works, to be one-stop shopping for a sponsor.”

The venture is expected to begin generating revenue to compensate Clinic researchers by Fall. Numoda is expected to benefit from a flow of new deals for its venture arm, Numoda Capital Innovations, according to Dow Jones Venture Wire (pdf).

Why start with neurological drugs?

“Neurological disorders affect millions of people around the world and represent a vast and growing need for new and improved treatment options,” Dr. Michael T. Modic, the Clinic’s chief emerging business officer, said in the release. “There is significant opportunity to develop novel treatments and therapies for neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and improve patient care, which is an integral part of Cleveland Clinic’s mission.”

How could the venture save money?

By shortening, streamlining and increasing the accuracy of the drug trial process, Fox said. And by ending trials of no-good drugs before drug sponsors and venture capitalists invest a lot of money in them, he said.

The venture also might act as a magnet to draw researchers to the Clinic’s medical school, Fox said. It also looks to be unique. Most academic research organizations such as the Duke Clinical Research Institute, are self-contained and don’t involve independent clinical trial IT companies like Numoda.