The field of research in drug discovery and delivery is ripe for exploitation by universities who can provide focused resources in the area. This situation has arisen because the previous model for drug discovery and delivery, with most of the work being done within the pharmaceutical industry, is broken. Mergers and acquisitions within the pharmaceutical industry, both in the United States and Europe, have created giant companies with many layers of management between the scientists doing the work and the decision makers in the company, resulting in a lack of creativity in the key science that drives discovery. In recognition of this, many of the major pharmaceutical companies (“big pharma”) are laying off discovery scientists and outsourcing their drug discovery efforts.
This changing landscape of drug discovery provides real opportunities for universities to make significant contributions to the process of drug discovery and delivery, provided that they can provide the intellectual, physical, and financial resources to capitalize on the situation. VTCDD was formed by Virginia Tech researchers who were already regarded as leaders in the drug discovery and delivery area, with more than $29 million in current research support. Under the VTCDD, members are able to coordinate and strengthen programs, share resources, and position themselves for new funding opportunities.