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Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Case Study

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The United States has long been a leader in scientific research, but it will take industry, academia, and government working together for our country to stay there. Since the implementation of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, which gave universities greater control over intellectual property, research universities have teamed up with partners during early-stage development to further their resources. The new task of universities was not to conduct research with the intent to make money, but to present their findings to the public domain for the sake of knowledge and the public good. In 2004, David Sinclair and Christopher Westphal, two innovative scientists following their intuition, founded Sirtris Pharmaceuticals. The founding idea arose from Sinclair’s…show more content…
The fact is that the company took a high risk. However, their decision was supported by Westphal who has co-founded five biotech companies and served as CEO of four of them all within four years. Westphal had a great track record for finding novel companies that turn basic research into drugs. This alone was enough to persuade Venture capitalists to invest in Sirtris since they repeatedly look to the reputation of the people involved as the best indicator for success. Taking the same approach as he did with his other start-ups, Westphal said that the key elements to start a company are “fantastic science… a great story… and lots of money” (Stuart, 2012). Sirtris had it all, they pushed their research further, they created a great story by emphasizing the possibilities, and they lured investor for financial support. Furthermore, the possibility that the drugs created can actually slow aging provides the company with a very compelling case to put to potential investors and pharmaceutical…show more content…
Sinclair and Westphal truly believed they could help humans during the aging process. They used their knowledge of the market to increase its outlook, such as gathering the best of the best scientist and advertising their ideas. Eventually in 2008, Glaxo paid $720 million to acquire Sirtris to further the founder’s research (Timmerman). Although they had to terminate a few clinical trials, they are still working on the development of drugs that act similarly to sirtuins, but have more promising properties. They hypothesize they will take sirtuins to the next phase of drug development within the next three to four years (McBride). This new future raises support that academic commercialization is the best approach for science. It is what spurs innovation. It predicts of a tangible product at some time in the future, a drug, device or therapy that might benefit humanity, and perhaps bring financial
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