While large pharmaceutical companies may be shifting resources to later-stage research and development, Big Pharma is by no means abandoning its drug discovery efforts. Instead, giant drug companies are forging closer ties with academia and small biotech companies specializing in early research work.

"From industry commentary and a lot of publications, one would think that pharma has turned its back on so-called technology platforms and early-stage opportunities completely, and that's not true," says Mark Edwards, managing director of Recombinant Capital, a Walnut Creek, Calif.-based biotech consulting and deal-tracking firm.

"Pharma has and continues to be heavily invested in biotech as both a lead generator and as a technology platform creator, or IP consolidator," Edwards says. "It is true that pharma is liking what biotech has to offer at the clinical end far more than they [did] about five years ago," he adds.

Edwards notes that slightly more than half of...

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