Think of life without modern drugs. Diseases that are considered simple inconveniences today were often incurable only 50 years ago. But the process to develop a new drug and bring it to patients is long and costly. Only a few drugs out of thousands or millions of compounds tested ever reach the market. Nonprofits like SRI International bring stability and a focus on global health to the drug development process, to ultimately help save lives.
In 1996, the FDA approved more than 50 drugs; in 2009, that number plummeted to 26. The reality today is that big pharmaceutical companies continue to rely on older breakthrough drugs for profits, and they are all too often failing in the development of effective new drugs. Moreover, drug companies are cutting back on long-term R&D in an attempt to improve immediate profits and returns for investors.
At our October café, Walter H. Moos, Ph.D., Vice President of SRI International’s Biosciences Division, will focus on the power of research. Moos will address the costs of drug discovery and development, the so-called R&D Valley of Death, and how the challenges encountered in the process reflect on the need for innovative ideas to achieve the greatest impact. He will discuss how pharmaceutical R&D saves lives, and the important roles played by organizations ranging from nonprofits to biotech start-ups to industry giants including “big pharma.”
Moos is Vice President of the Biosciences Division of SRI International, one of the world’s largest independent, nonprofit research and development organizations. He leads a team of nearly 250 people, with all of the resources necessary to take research from initial discoveries to the start of human clinical trials. SRI Biosciences is an integrated organization, carrying out basic research on disease mechanisms, performing drug discovery, and providing preclinical services.
In addition to his role at SRI International, Moos serves on the boards of Rigel, a biotech company, and several nonprofits, including the Critical Path Institute and Keystone Symposia. Moos holds adjunct faculty positions at UC San Francisco and at James Madison University. He has edited five books, helped to found multiple scientific journals and has approximately 150 published manuscripts and patents. He holds a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and received an A.B. from Harvard University.