Albany Molecular Research Inc. (AMRI)

Moving Innovation Forward Partnering for Discovery Outsourcing

Christopher Conway

Christopher Conway
Senior Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing

During the last few years, the drug discovery industry has been experiencing a gap in moving innovation and programs from the preclinical to clinical arena. As a result, there is a need for more predictive points of intervention in terms of therapeutics as it relates to targets, as well as modalities. As an industry, we need to see an improvement in translation tools, whether they are in vivo, in vitro, or ex vivo model systems. Dramatically different research and development models are being implemented from startups to major pharmaceutical companies, which include shifts in outsourcing. Contract research organizations (CROs) have a responsibility to partners and customers to help drive the translation of innovation in the clinical setting and to bridge current gaps in discovery and development. Outsourcing to the right partner is key.  Partners must have the translational discovery capabilities to help move programs and assets successfully into the clinic without compromising the confidentiality, robustness and reproducibility of the discovery process.

Scientifically, the biggest issue facing various pipelines is a lack of predictive translation points. Taking a reductionist approach — in other words, studying a target in isolation or using a single cell — is not predictive of the human condition. In addition, animal models are not predictive of human pathophysiology. Until now, the industry has not had the types of tools, platforms, and analytics to move from this serendipitous approach to a more deterministic approach. True differentiation is going to come by being able to access what is needed when it is needed as it relates to these various tools.

Bringing the patient back to early discovery is going to be crucial moving forward.

Bringing the patient back to early discovery is going to be crucial moving forward.

The industry needs to bring the clinic—and a deep understanding of human pathophysiology — back to the early aspects of drug discovery, whether it is in target identification, validation, or using more human predictable systems in structure-activity relationship profiling, or whether it is hit-to-lead or lead-to-candidate. Although there is promise in evolving technologies, the challenge to date has been to put together and use the tools that are constantly evolving. Today, owning the tools is not as important as how the industry is using them. The advantage of partnerships is becoming key here, as they improve accessibility compared with past models. 

In a spirit of continuous improvement — and in recognition that great science takes place both inside and outside its walls — AMRI, has become a founding member of the Buffalo Medical Innovation and Commercialization (BMIC) Hub, a translational science center designed to bring assets through “The Valley of Death” that lies between basic research and Phase I trials. AMRI, as the anchor partner in the BMIC Hub, is well equipped to handle this daunting task. In addition to AMRI, BMIC located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is already populated by the University of Buffalo School of Medicine, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Hauptman Woodward Institute, and other academic and private institutions. This localized concentration of expertise makes it easier for AMRI to establish the effective collaborations that complement and enhance  AMRI’s capabilities and expertise in medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and drug design capabilities with the knowhow and advanced technologies possessed by its neighbors to solve the problems faced by its customers.

AMRI Building med res

AMRI in Buffalo Conventus Building at BMIC Hub.

By tapping into this network through a single source, biopharma companies can access the vast array of tools that are needed for drug discovery from hit identification to candidate selection as well as many other expertise, platforms, and capabilities required for drug discovery. These set of activities located in a single location in North America complements in-house capabilities and provides flexibility without the need to invest in-house or manage a long list of providers. The concentration of transdisciplinary translational expertise brings other benefits too. From a transdisciplinary approach, experts can work in collaboration with internal scientists in the same geographic proximity with next generation informatics data generation. This way, decision making can be accelerated, improving outcomes.

The ability to quickly make decisions is one way in which the model contributes to the shortening of cycle times. With chemistry, biology, and pharmacology ranging from synthesis, testing, analysis, and other steps taking place in one area, there are far fewer chances for a project to be delayed than is typical when teams are geographically dispersed or located cross-continents. Having this expertise in one east coast location is another boon. The line of communication between the companies, AMRI, and the third-party experts crosses few, if any, time zones, eliminating the delays that are an inherent part of working with CROs in China immediately and permanently.

About the Author

Christopher Conway is senior vice president, global sales and marketing at AMRI, responsible for all sales, marketing, communications, and customer operations. Christopher Conway joined AMRI in 2008 as a business development manager on AMRI’s US discovery team. He was promoted to senior director of the North America Discovery market in 2010 and then to vice president of business development in 2012, leading an international team of business development managers in North America and Europe and currently leads all sales and marketing functions across the globe. Before joining AMRI, he held sales and leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Johnson & Johnson and completed J&J’s Sales Leadership Development Program.

About Albany Molecular Research Inc. (AMRI) 

Headquarters: Albany, NY

AMRI is a global contract research and manufacturing organization that provides large scale manufacturing services and discovery and development solutions.   The company supports the commercial manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), starting materials, clinical formulation development, as well as clinical and commercial drug product manufacturing. They also provide comprehensive services from the early discovery to investigational new drug phase, including expertise with diverse chemistry, library design and synthesis, in vitro biology and pharmacology, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, as well as natural products. From early discovery to commercial production, AMRI delivers seamless technology transfer at every stage of development. 

NYS Employees: 600
Twitter: @amriglobal 

Pill Breaker

Download the 2015
Bio/Med Industry Report

Website by