Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) play an increasingly important role providing solutions to the significant challenges faced today by both large pharmaceutical and smaller biotechnology companies, not to mention academia. NPOs chartered for the public benefit are common in the USA and in selected other parts of the world. SRI International, originally founded as the Stanford Research Institute in 1946, is one of the largest and most successful independent NPOs. To provide a perspective on NPO business models, a number of SRI case studies spanning a broad range of technical and business initiatives will be summarized, including basic and contract research, discovery and development of new drugs and biologics, pharmaceutical and biotech research and development and contract services, technology pivots, company spin-ins and spin-outs, and the creation of new NPOs. How to bridge the National Institute of Health's “Valley of Death” and how to navigate the Food and Drug Administration's “Critical Path” will be discussed. We conclude with lessons learned about collaborations and routes to commercialization, along with food for thought for bioscience companies and outsourcing participants. Throughout, we attempt to explain why the role of NPOs is important to both the scientific and business communities and to patients and caregivers.
Keywords: Biotechnology, critical path, drug discovery, innovation, nonprofit, pharmaceutical, valley of death, Nonprofit organizations (NPOs), collaborations and routes to commercialization, pharmaceutical and biotech research