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Disruptive innovation in rheumatology: new networks of global public–private partnerships are needed to take advantage of scientific progress
  1. Tom WJ Huizinga1,
  2. V Michael Holers2,
  3. Jennifer Anolik3,
  4. Michael B Brenner4,
  5. Christopher Dominic Buckley5,
  6. Vivian Bykerk6,7,
  7. Sean E Connolly8,
  8. Kevin D Deane9,
  9. Jianping Guo10,
  10. Martin Hodge11,
  11. Steve Hoffmann12,
  12. Frank Nestle13,
  13. Costantino Pitzalis14,
  14. Soumya Raychaudhuri15,16,
  15. Kazuhiko Yamamoto17,
  16. Zhanguo Li10,
  17. Lars Klareskog18
  1. 1 Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands
  2. 2 Rheumatology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Denver, Colorado, USA
  3. 3 Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, New York, USA
  4. 4 Division of Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  5. 5 Department of Rheumatology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  6. 6 Rheumatology, The Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, New York, USA
  7. 7 Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  8. 8 Department of Immunology and Inflammation, Bristol Myers Squibb Co. Research and Development, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
  9. 9 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  10. 10 Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, Peking University People's Hospital, Beijing, China
  11. 11 Department of Rheumatology, Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals, New York, New York, USA
  12. 12 Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  13. 13 Immunology and Inflammation Therapeutic Research Area Sanofi US, Sanofi Genzyme, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  14. 14 Experimental Medicine and Rheumatology, William Harvey Research Institute, London, UK
  15. 15 Arthritis Research UK Epidemiology Unit, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  16. 16 Program in Medical and Population Genetics, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  17. 17 Department of Allergy and Rheumatology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  18. 18 Rheumatology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Professor Tom WJ Huizinga, Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands; t.w.j.huizinga{at}

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Patterns of innovation can be sustained (continuous) or rapid, sometimes even ‘disruptive’. A major difference is that in order to support disruptive innovation the support networks and its infrastructure often need to be changed dynamically to accommodate a rapidly evolving landscape to establish the disruptive approach. For example, introducing electric cars disrupts the support network for gasoline cars (network of gas and service stations), and at the same time requires an entirely new system of charging stations. Such disruptions occur in science, and a wonderful example was the creation of monoclonal antibody technologies. The discovery of the principle for production of monoclonal antibodies by César Milstein and Georg Köhler fueled a rapid adoption of new antibody-based technologies in all areas of medicine. This transformation was strongly supported by the open workshops that catalogued antibodies from many laboratories into distinct ‘clusters of differentiation’, thereby providing a new ‘support network’ for the global use of well validated and standardised monoclonal antibodies. This new support network helped the pharmaceutical industry transition from a major focus on small chemical molecules (screened for effects in vitro) to a new targeted approach, first with recombinant proteins, later with monoclonal antibodies with the introduction of anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) antibodies as an example.

During the last two decades, in both the USA and Europe, the need to develop public–private partnership support networks has been recognised as a means to accelerate innovation and enable translation of the rapidly expanding cellular and molecular understanding of disease pathogenesis into the development of new therapeutic agents. In Europe, the Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) was formed to enhance public–private partnerships, and in the USA the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP).1 Identifying, validating and testing new targets based on enhanced understanding are at the core of both AMP and IMI. To facilitate continuous …

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  • TWH and VMH are joint first authors.

  • Handling editor Josef S Smolen

  • Twitter @soumya_boston

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it published Online First. The second author's name has been corrected and the joint first author statement added.

  • Contributors Written by MVH and TWJH. Intellectual and textual contributions from all others.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research. Refer to the Methods section for further details.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.