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Prof. Maija Dambrova

Professor in the Riga Stradins University

Faculty of Pharmacy and Head of the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Pharmacology

Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis.



Academia and pharmaceutical industry collaboration: advancing drug discovery


The expenses of drug discovery continue growth, and optimization of its expenses heavily depends on the focused and efficient innovation process. Drug discovery proceeds through the different development stages and requires effective collaboration among multiple players from the academia and pharmaceutical industry. The process involves specialized basic research knowledge, as well as highly developed skills in the project management. Low success rate in clinical trials is a key factor pointing at importance of mutual understanding of the state-of-the-art in the drug target discovery and experimental models from academia side, and drug candidate nomination, safety studies and clinical research driven by industry partners. Academia faces barriers in translating discoveries, while industry needs more information about disease mechanisms, valuable drug targets and promising active molecules. Collaboration helps academic investigators to overcome the obstacles in moving research discoveries from bench to bedside, educate researchers about translational research process and prepare for eventual industry careers. In partnership with academia, industry can avoid risky pre-discovery stages and focus on cost-effective and innovative approaches to drug discovery and development. For academia both scientific excellence, high level publications and previous reputation as a reliable external contract research partner is important to start collaboration with the industry. The most frequent barriers include lack in expertise, specialized funding and mutual understanding. The presentation will specifically focus on the experience in drug discovery and various examples of international academia-industry partnering models.




She has a PhD in Pharmaceutical Biosciences from Uppsala University (Sweden) and also holds a MBA degree from RISEBA, Latvia. Prof. M. Dambrova is specializing in drug discovery, investigations of the molecular action mechanisms of drugs and newly synthesised compounds for applications in CNS and cardiovascular fields in collaboration with academic research partners and pharmaceutical industry. Research interests include pharmacology and medicinal chemistry related to the anti-ischemic drugs with novel mechanisms of action, cellular energy metabolism, and inflammation. For her achievements, M. Dambrova has been awarded EFPIA nomination “Portraits of Science–Scientists of Tomorrow”, D. H. Grindelis and S. Hillers medals, Baltic Assembly Prize in Science,  L`Oréal Latvian fellowship "For Women in Science" with the support of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO and the Latvian Academy of Sciences. She is elected as Full Member in the Latvian Academy of Sciences.