If it sounds too good to be true…

A colleague just alerted me to a new initiative from Bayer Healthcare. From Targets to Novel Drugs offers up to €250,000 in exchange for a brief abstract.
The stated objective:
With this initiative, Bayer Schering Pharma aims to encourage research on novel targets in areas of mutual interest. By combining expertise from industry and academia we intend to accelerate the transition from basic research to new promising treatment options.
The stated benefits to the researchers:
Bayer Schering Pharma wishes to dedicate grants to further develop promising targets. In addition, we will bring in our expertise and technologies to help develop your ideas. […] In addition to the financial support, successful applicants may benefit from the pooling of expertise. This may include specific know-how in drug discovery and development. Bayer Schering Pharma has long-standing experience in drug discovery and development as well as a proven track record of collaborations with academic institutes, start-ups, and biotech companies.
The competition is open to academic and industry researchers from anywhere in the world.
We’ve already had a brief debate about “innovative and courageous funding mechanism” versus “fishing for new targets”.
The FAQ brought up a potential red flag:
No, the information provided will not be considered confidential. Information provided has to be sufficient to allow a first evaluation of the proposal. If you have further data that you are only willing to disclose subject to the execution of a Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA), please indicate this in the abstract. In case your application is considered for further evaluation, we may contact you to discuss a CDA.
So, wise and mighty internets: any thoughts?

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
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9 Responses to If it sounds too good to be true…

  1. Heather Etchevers says:

    The more the merrier, in my book.

  2. Darren Saunders says:

    I guess no more confidential than your average funding application?

  3. Cath Ennis says:

    I suppose it comes down to trust. Peer reviewers vs. industry? Hmmm…

  4. Darren Saunders says:

    After recent experience, I’d be inclined to take industry. At least you know where you stand there 😉
    Surely they can’t be that bereft of ideas?

  5. Cath Ennis says:

    Seems more like they’re trying to focus their efforts specifically on targets with the best supporting evidence. Even big pharma don’t have infinite resources, and that pipeline’s pretty leaky 😉

  6. Darren Saunders says:

    very tempting…

  7. Frank Norman says:

    This article in the Times Higher might be an incentive to give it a try.

    … new research has shown that working with industry helps scholars in some fields boost their research output. The study, which has analysed the research productivity of academics in more than 30 engineering departments over two decades, suggests that industry links lead to an increase in the number of publications – but only to a certain degree. There is a point above which high levels of collaboration with industry start to reduce the amount academics publish in research journals, it says.

  8. Caryn Shechtman says:

    There must be a catch. It sounds like an apartment listing that is unbelievable, but when you go to look at it there 25 cats.

  9. Cath Ennis says:

    Frank, thanks for that! Food for thought.
    Caryn, LOL!

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