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SELECTBIO Conferences Academic Drug Discovery


Ten years of SPARKing Translational Research in Academia (

Nancy Federspiel, Associate Director Of The Spark Translational Research Program, Stanford University School of Medicine

While science and technology are now more innovative and successful than ever, their translation into novel treatments and therapeutics to address key health problems remains a challenge. Recognizing that to close the industry/academia divide, we created the SPARK AT Stanford program, in which scientists from both sides work more closely together. SPARK, created ten years ago, is a partnership between Stanford University and volunteers from the local biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and health care investment industries. SPARK’s mission is three-fold: first, to help academic investigators overcome the obstacles intrinsic to moving research discoveries from bench to bedside; second, to educate faculty and trainees about the translational research process so that development of promising new discoveries becomes second nature, and so that trainees are better prepared for potential industry careers; and third, to promote efficient, cost-effective, and innovative approaches to discovery and development. So far, 60% of the ~80 project have been licensed to companies and/or entered clinical trials. Through weekly meetings, SPARK’s activities conducted on campus, provide a rich learning experience that is open to faculty, staff, students, and postdoctoral fellows; this ensures that the know-how remains here and that the out-of-the-box and risk-taking attitude of academia is maintained, while industry’s real-life experience is implemented. We also began ‘exporting’ SPARK to other academic institutions and formed a Global SPARK community to promote translational medical research in over two dozen academic institutions on five continents. I will discuss how SPARK works and lessons learned from our experience.

Add to Calendar ▼2017-03-06 00:00:002017-03-07 00:00:00Europe/LondonAcademic Drug