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Bridging the gap between invention and innovation: Increasing success rates in publicly and industry-funded clinical trials

Carolin Haeussler and Anne Assmus
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Carolin Häussler ()

Research Policy, 2021, vol. 50, issue 2

Abstract: While basic research in the natural sciences can generate discoveries with great promise to improve human health, advancing these discoveries from bench to bedside through clinical trials is a major challenge requiring individuals to possess a specific set of skills and prior experience. The ability to translate—especially between basic and applied research—and to bridge these two areas is likely to be key. We call skills that encompass both basic and applied research horizontal skills; experience in diverse fields, such as both cancer and diabetes, is termed vertical experience. We develop a framework to define and differentiate between horizontal skills and vertical experience and discuss how they separately and jointly impact the success of turning discoveries into products. Drawing on data from 3,889 clinical trials, we find that both qualities matter for publicly funded and industry-funded trials but with nuanced differences. Our results suggest that the likelihood of success increases when the investigators who lead trials have a balanced set of skills in both basic and applied science independent of the funding source. In both types of trials, investigators who possess vertical experience were found to reduce the success probability of clinical trials. However, investigators in industry-funded trials are able to alleviate this effect if they possess basic research skills or horizontal skills. Our paper uncovers context specificities in terms of how horizontal skills and experience in multiple fields, as well as their interplay, relate to translational success.

Keywords: Basic and applied research; Clinical trials; Translational medicine; Experience in diverse fields; Bio-pharmaceutical industry (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J24 O31 O32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2020.104155

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Research Policy is currently edited by M. Bell, B. Martin, W.E. Steinmueller, A. Arora, M. Callon, M. Kenney, S. Kuhlmann, Keun Lee and F. Murray

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