The inability to replicate scientific studies is a major issue with biomedical stakeholders

Technology Transfer Officers and other biotech and pharma stakeholders have to manage expectations of inventors and investors, and a Wall Street Journal article exposes one reason why this task is getting more difficult. 

What happens when you combine over 7-million university and corporate researchers’ requirements and desires to publish with a 23% increase in the number of scientific journals (from 2001 to 2010) hungry to capture ground-breaking studies? Now mix in competitive pressures felt by research laboratories and difficult-to-deny evidence of a positive bias that influences scientific research.

In what the WSJ calls biomedicine’s little secret, most research today cannot be duplicated.  Atlas Life Sciences group claims half of the research it looks at is non-repeatable.  Bayer did a study where the number approached 2/3.

Four things result:

  1. The success rate in Phase 2 trials in many drug companies has decreased, at considerable expense, ultimately resulting in less funded trials;
  2. Wasted research ensues, with significant time, money and opportunity costs;
  3. Investors balk (VC firms cite non-repeatable studies as the chief reason they are less willing to finance early-stage IP);
  4. Early stage IP value plummets;
  5. License agreements between research institutions and industry become more difficult to negotiate early on, and reflect less upfront help and lower royalty rates.
Readers so-inclined might add a sixth: world health suffers.