GSK's New R&D Culture Forces Research Chiefs to Hustle for Support

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Of all the Big Pharmas anxiously attempting to reinvent the way they discover and develop new drugs, few if any have been as ambitious about creating a new R&D culture as GlaxoSmithKline (NYS: GSK) . After watching its big, multibillion-dollar development machine lurch to a slow, halting grind, CEO Andrew Witty and his two top research heads -- Moncef Slaoui and Patrick Vallance -- conspired to shake things up by divvying up the research staff into Discovery Performance Units, which would be expected to compete for resources and focus on a small set of projects, much like a biotech.

Bloomberg's been following their advance, which is hitting a crucial three-year milestone as all the DPUs make a case for GSK's continued support. And it's interesting to hear the company's researchers talk about new approaches to sharing everything from tissue samples to credit for significant advances when the DPUs collaborate among themselves.

Research teams tell the business news service that they've succeeded in cutting down the time they take between committing to a program and launching trials; human tissue is preferred in preclinical work over animal tissue; and one good organ can get passed around in hours as DPUs hustle for a slice. In this next review process, some DPU chiefs aren't expected to make it to Round 2.

"One or two we've stepped down, they didn't quite meet expectations," Vallance tells Bloomberg. "One of them is doing a brilliant job in another capacity now and may well find himself stepping back up again." At least one has also been recruited, by J&J, and Vallance adds that VCs and others are also paying close attention to these biotech chieftains, some of whom may one day get a chance to use their new skills at new companies.

This article originally published here. Get your free daily biotech briefing here.

Related Articles:

At the time this article was published Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of GlaxoSmithKline. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read Full Story

Want more news like this?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from business news to personal finance tips delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners