Academic-Industry Collaborations: Can we all just get along?

Date & Time

Wed, 07/11/2012
5:30-7:00 pm


“The price of corporate support is eternal vigilance.”

It may seem ironic, but this 1996 quote from Harvard President Derek Bok was introduced into our July 11 program by Jeremy Barton, a Vice President with Pfizer. Barton’s willingness to raise this perspective was very much in keeping with the spirit of this first program in the Ethics Center’s 2012 Summer Series on Meeting the Challenge of Conflicts of Interest. The program, titledAcademic-Industry Collaborations: Can we all just get along?, featured two panelists: Dr. Barton and Dr. Gary Firestein, Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute at UC San Diego.

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This program was made possible in part by support from:

This program was held at:

  • Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine
  • 2880 Torrey Pines Scenic Drive
  • La Jolla, California


This was the first of three programs in the Ethics Center’sSummer Series 2012, titled:

Meeting the Challenge of Conflicts of Interest: Academic-Industry Collaborations.

This series seeks to find answers to two central questions:

  1. What are the challenges raised by conflicts of interest when industry enters into collaborations with academic partners?
  2. What existing or new mechanisms might mitigate or eliminate the real or perceived ways in which such collaborations compromise the integrity of science?

To view a recording of this event, please click here.


Gary Firestein
UC San Diego

Gary S. Firestein, M.D. is Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute and the Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine at UC San Diego. Dr. Firestein joined the faculty at UCSD School of Medicine as Assistant Professor of Medicine in 1988. Four years later, he was recruited by Gensia, Inc. to be Director of Immunology where he supervised drug discovery efforts focusing on the potential role of purines in inflammation. In 1996, he returned to UCSD where he served from 1998-2010 as chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology.
Dr. Firestein’s research interest focuses on the pathogenesis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. He was among the first to map the cytokine profile of RA and demonstrate the dominance of macrophage and fibroblast products. These studies played a pivotal role in the development of highly effective anti-TNF and other anti-cytokine therapies for RA. In 1998, Dr. Firestein received the Carol-Nachman Prize, an international award given for outstanding contributions to rheumatology research. In 2006 and 2009, he received the Arthritis Foundation Lee C. Howley Sr Prize for Arthritis Research and the American College of Rheumatology Distinguished Investigator Award, respectively, and he received the Arthritis Foundation’s Jane Wyman Humanitarian Award in 2010 for contributions to rheumatology. He has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.
Dr. Firestein has written over 300 articles and chapters and has edited or written several books. He served as the Deputy Editor of Arthritis & Rheumatism and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Kelley Textbook of Rheumatology. He was chairperson of the FDA Arthritis Advisory Committee and has served on the ACR Committee on Research and the Arthritis Foundation Research Committee. He currently is a member of the Board of Directors of the Veteran’s Medical Research Foundation and serves on the NIAMS Advisory Council. In 2011, he was the scientific founder of NexDx, an epigenetics company in San Diego.

Jeremy Barton

Jeremy Barton obtained a Masters degree in Physiological Sciences from Oxford University and graduated from University College Hospital Medical School, London. After training in Internal Medicine, he specialized in Clinical Oncology in the United Kingdom (UK), achieving Specialist status in this area and practiced for 11 years in the National Health Service. Jeremy is a Member of the Royal College of Physicians (UK), a Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists (Oncology) and a Member of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine.
In 1992 he joined the pharmaceutical industry and in the last 20 years has held a variety of positions in the field of Oncology including large pharmaceutical companies in Switzerland and the UK and biotech companies in the US. He has also run his own consulting business. Now Vice President of Oncology Clinical Research in Pfizer, La Jolla, his special interest is the interface between Research and Early Development through to Proof of Concept. Throughout his industry career he has participated in numerous preclinical and clinical collaborations with academic institutions and co-operative groups on both sides of the Atlantic which have been instrumental in advancing the progress of compounds towards regulatory approval.

Event Resources


American Association of University Professors (2012): AAUP Recommended Principles & Practices to Guide Academy-Industry Relationships.
This report highlights a variety of concerns with academic industry collaborations and concludes with numerous recommendations.

Association of American Medical Colleges [AAMC] (2012): Implementing the Final Rule on Financial Conflicts of Interest in Public Health Funded Research.
“The goal of this report is to provide institutions subject to the new rule with some insight into how their peer institutions were thinking about these issues in the first few months after announcement of the new rule, and to provide a range of contemplated approaches.”

Institute of Medicine (2009): Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice.
“This Institute of Medicine report examines conflicts of interest in medical research, education, and practice and in the development of clinical practice guidelines. It reviews the available evidence on the extent of industry relationships with physicians and researchers and their consequences, and it describes current policies intended to identify, limit, or manage conflicts of interest. Although this report builds on the analyses and recommendations of other groups, it differs from other reports in its focus on conflicts of interest across the spectrum of medicine and its identification of overarching principles for assessing both conflicts of interest and conflict of interest policies. The report, which offers 16 specific recommendations, has several broad messages.”

Pfizer (2009): Academia and Industry.
“This brochure illustrates how collaborations between academic institutions and pharma companies can result in actions that benefit patients. It is not meant to convince you that one group or the other is always right, but rather to discuss the issues and demonstrate, through case histories, how interdependent we are.”

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America [PhRMA] (2009): Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals.
PhRMA, which represents pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, first introduced this voluntary code in 2002 to guide relationships between industry and healthcare professionals.