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Can a biobank network and supporting infrastructure enhance Ireland's ability to attract pharmaceutical research and development and clinical trial opportunities? A pilot survey

Authors Mee B, Gaffney E, Mc Garrigle S, Glynn S, Connolly E, Mc Cormick P, Flannery D, O'Connor K, Lawson M, Ryan L, Nugent T, Ward R, Sullivan FJ, Fay J, O'Grady T, Kay E, Eustace J, Burke L, Finn S, Flavin R

Received 7 January 2016

Accepted for publication 23 February 2016

Published 21 June 2016 Volume 2016:4 Pages 1—8


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Martin H. Bluth

Blanaid Mee,1 Eoin Gaffney,2,3 Sarah McGarrigle,4 Sharon A Glynn,5,6 Elisabeth M Connolly,7 Paul H McCormick,7 Delia Flannery,7 Katrina O'Connor,7 Margaret Lawson,1 Lisa Ryan,1 Timothy Nugent,1 Ronan Ward,1 Francis J Sullivan,6 Joanna Fay,8 Tony O'Grady,8 Elaine Kay,8 Joe Eustace,9 Louise Burke,9 Stephen Finn,1 Richard Flavin1

1Department of Pathology, St James's Hospital, 2Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, 3National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, 4Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, 5Department of Pathology, National University of Ireland Galway, 6Prostate Cancer Institute, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, 7Department of Surgery, St James's Hospital, 8Department of Pathology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, 9Department of Pathology, Cork University Hospital, Cork, Ireland

Abstract: Ireland has an established reputation in specialized global pharmaceutical manufacturing. However, simple high-volume manufacturing will not sustain the Irish pharmaceutical industry, and government agencies recommend a greater focus on innovation and research and development (R&D). Biobank Ireland Trust sought the views of the Irish pharmaceutical industry on the potential benefits of a national biobank network (NBN), national biobank web portal (NBWP), and center for translational molecular oncologic pathology (CTOP). Questionnaires were sent to 19 companies and eleven responded. Questionnaire A was completed by six companies presently engaged in R&D in Ireland – three pharmaceutical companies, two spin outs, and one contract research organization. Six of six respondents reported that: a NBN would benefit their company; the development of a NBWP was important; and finally, they forecast that the requirement for biobanked material would continue to increase. While three of six predicted that a NBN would facilitate an expansion of current R&D activities. The relative importance of accessing biobanked material and data varied. An associated NBWP was considered essential to enable researchers to rapidly determine the content of the NBN for research, including preclinical studies. Individual companies had requirements for biobanked material from a wide variety of cancer sites, sample types, and sample derivatives. Questionnaire B was completed by five pharmaceutical companies currently not engaged in R&D in Ireland. Four of five reported that a CTOP would benefit their company. All five stated that a CTOP could cultivate industry–academic collaborations. All five also determined that NBN–NBWP–CTOP infrastructure would assist in promoting Ireland as an R&D center. Finally, four of five indicated that an NBN would make Ireland more competitive for new clinical trials. This pilot survey suggests that an NBN with associated infrastructure would greatly facilitate research conducted by the pharmaceutical sector in Ireland.

Keywords: pharmaceutical industry, Irish biobanks, NBN, CTOP, NBWP, biobanked material

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