Here’s a look from Bayer at their experiences providing vitamin D receptor ligands to the academic community over the last twenty years (which takes the compounds back into their Schering AG origins). Overall, they’ve found that the compounds seem to have helped the various research groups along quite a bit, and have led to a good number of publications (with about a 33% conversion rate). This comparison was interesting, I thought:
[In 2003-3013} a total of 121 requests were received (Fig. 1c). Briefly, to request compounds, the academic group completes a one-page non-confidential research project plan that is then reviewed by Bayer scientists. In addition, the academic institution has to review a sample transfer agreement (STA). The compound is dispatched if there are no reasonable objections against the research plan and if the STA is signed and returned.
The overall success rate for requests was high (71%, or 86 of 121 requests), although there were regional differences. Requesters from the United States had a lower chance of receiving the compound than did requesters from other countries. . .Based on archived e-mail communications, the review and execution of the STA was the main cause of delay. Quite frequently, US institutions had either questions or concerns about the STA, or the US investigator never returned the STA template to Bayer.
A first request from an academic scientist for a compound from the VDR ligand cluster took an average of 99 days to fulfill (data on 19 requests available). This time was mostly spent on processing the STA. A second request from the same scientist took an average of just 57 days to fulfil (n = 11 requests). Even when successful, requests from the United States took substantially longer, with an average request time of 152 days (n = 4 requests) compared with 85 days for non-US institutions (n = 15 requests).
They say near the end of the article that they’ve now revised the language of the STA, but as far as I can see, they don’t say if some part of it in particular was a common sticking point, or what changes they made. That seems like it would be a worthwhile piece of information; I’m surprised that it was left out. . .