Case | HBS Case Collection | March 2010 (Revised May 2012)

Myelin Repair Foundation: Accelerating Drug Discovery Through Collaboration

by Karim R. Lakhani and Paul R. Carlile


This case presents the Myelin Repair Foundation's accelerated research collaboration model for drug discovery. It highlights the challenges of building a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research collaboration that is attempting to create a treatment for multiple sclerosis based on a novel scientific approach. The case provides details on how norms of academic research and intellectual property had to be updated to enable collaboration. The current dilemma facing the CEO and COO of the foundation relates to setting strategic priorities for research so that a treatment for MS can be ready in the next ten years. The strategic choices need to account for the complexities of drug discovery, the uncertainty of commercial partners' interest in the therapeutic approach and the constrained donor-based fundraising environment.

Keywords: Research and Development; Intellectual Property; Risk and Uncertainty; Strategic Planning; Collaborative Innovation and Invention; Health Disorders; Pharmaceutical Industry; Biotechnology Industry; Health Industry;


Lakhani, Karim R., and Paul R. Carlile. "Myelin Repair Foundation: Accelerating Drug Discovery Through Collaboration." Harvard Business School Case 610-074, March 2010. (Revised May 2012.)