target myeloperoxidase and other key enzymes associated with neuroinflammation. The company has R&D programmes in ischaemic stroke, relaps- ing remitting multiple sclerosis, stroke associated with sickle cell disease,

traumatic brain

injury/chronic traumatic encephalopathy and neu- rological disorders associated with bronchopul- monary dysplasia.

Conclusions The advent of the internet/worldwide web spawned a myriad of well-known virtual opera- tional companies such as the behemoths Amazon and eBay. The concept of a virtual company is now well-recognised by the general public and has come to epitomise an entity that does not operate through the ‘bricks and mortar’ model. In the case of the VPC, the definition and operational model are more clouded with uncertainty. There is unequivocal evidence that the VPC model contin- ues to gather momentum. However, the opportuni- ties afforded by such a model have not been clearly defined. As an example, when Francis Collins became Director of the NIH (USA), one of his pri- mary objectives was to provide a framework where academic individuals and institutions could become more involved in the DDD process. While he may not have had the VPC concept in mind, the VPC/hVPC model clearly facilitates such an initia- tive. Finally, the descriptor of VPC has found some acceptance in the biotech/pharmaceutical sector. This is in spite of the misunderstanding of what constitutes a VPC and the choice of nomenclature for describing the VPC. It may be worthwhile to consider whether Network Pharmaceutical Company (NPC) is a more suitable descriptor than VPC. Nevertheless, whether it is VPC or NPC, the model is here to stay.


Dr Stephen Naylor is a Co-Founder, CEO and Board Chairman of ReNeuroGen LLC, a virtual pharmaceutical company developing systems phar- macology therapies for the treatment of neurologi- cal diseases.He is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of MaiHealth Inc, a systems/network biology level diagnostics company in the health/wellness and pre- cision medicine sector. In addition he is also a Co- Founder and Board Adviser of iMetabolic Biopharma Corporation. He was also the Founder, CEO and Chairman of Predictive Physiology & Medicine (PPM) Inc, one of the world’s first per- sonalised medicine companies. He serves as an Advisory Board Member of CureHunter Inc, a computational biology drug discovery company,

Drug DiscoveryWorld Summer 2019 15

and as a business adviser to the not-for-profit Cures Within Reach. In the past he has held professorial chairs in the departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Pharmacology; Clinical Pharmacology and Biomedical Engineering, all at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, USA. He holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge (UK) and undertook a NIH-funded fellowship at MIT locat- ed in the ‘other’ Cambridge, USA. Address corre- spondence to him at

Dr Kirkwood A. Pritchard Jr is a Co-Founder, CSO and Board Director of ReNeuroGen LLC, a virtual pharmaceutical company developing sys- tems pharmacology therapies for the treatment of neurological diseases. He is also a Co-Founder and Board Director of HDL-Dx, a diagnostics compa- ny developing an assay to determine functionality of HDL. In addition, he is a tenured Research Professor in the Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, at the Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA). He has broad and diverse translational research interests in a number of disease indications including, stroke, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, sickle cell dis- ease and bronchopulmonary dysplasia in prema- ture babies. He holds a PhD from Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio, USA), and under- took a postdoctoral fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York, NY, USA).

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16 Pollock, B.Virtual Companies Beware-FDASIA Ratchets Up the Heat. Lachmann Consultants. January 24 (2014). https://www.lachmanconsultant companies-beware-fdasia- ratchets-up-the-heat/. 17 Adams,C.A Billion Dollar Drug Using aVirtual Business Model.Andarix Pharmaceuticals.October 13 (2017). http://www.andarix. com/2017/10/13/a-billion- dollar-drug-using-a-virtual- business-model/. 18 Schuhmacher,A,Gassmann, O,McCracken,N and Hinders, M.Open Innovation and External Sources of Innovation.An Opportunity to Fuel R&D Pipeline and Enhance Decision Making? J. Transl.Med. 16, (2018). 1499-2. 19 Finn,T.The Rise ofVirtual Pharma. PharmaTimes. February 11 (2019). web_exclusives/the_rise_of_vir tual_pharma_1277952. 20 Shanley,A.New Business Models AttractVirtual Pharma. Pharm.Technol., – S2, 13-14 (2016) http://www. models-attract-virtual-pharma. 21 FierceBiotech.TenTruths or Fictions AboutVirtual Biotech Startups.April 18 (2014). https://www. report/10-truths-or-fictions- about-virtual-biotech-startups.

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