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From chemical screening to global biotech: how can we understand the changing patterns and putative crisis of drug innovation

Abstract : This talk will discuss the deep transformation, which has affected the cognitive base, the targets and the organisation of pharmaceutical research since the 1980s. This has resulted in a significant reduction of in-house R&D by large companies, decreasing approvals by the FDA and other agencies, multiple controversies about the role of regulation and conflicts of interests, rise of the generic industry and massive delocalization of production itself. These developments and signs of crisis have deep roots in the regime of knowledge production that emerged after World War II and should not be simply read as consequences of the 1980s neoliberal turn.

About the Speaker : Jean-Paul Gaudillière is historian of science and medicine in the 20th century. His recent work focuses on the history of pharmaceutical innovation and the uses of drugs on the one hand, the dynamics of health globalization after World War II on the other hand. Amongst others, he has co-edited, with Volker Hess, Ways of Regulating Drugs in the 19th and 20th centuries, Basinkstokes, Routledge-Palgrave ; with U. Thoms, The Development of Scientific Marketing in the 20th Century: Research for Sales in the Pharmaceutical Industry, New York, Pickering & Chatto, 2015, with L. Pordie, Industrial Ayurveda. Drug Discovery, Reformulation and the Market, Asian Medicine, vol. 9, 2014-15.

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