Edward Sausville, M.D., Ph.D., Former Associate Director, DTP
Mary Wolpert, Ph.D., Chief, GCOB, DTP

Edward Sausville, M.D., Ph.D.
Former Associate Director, DTP

The RAID Program, the acronym standing for Rapid Access to Intervention Development, really came into being in the period between 1997 and 1998. This was an effort to make available to external academic researchers the developmental capabilities of our program, specifically to qualify new molecules for advancement to the clinic.

And within that rubric of qualifying the molecule, that consists of a number of tasks that are really critical to making a therapeutic agent, but which were not really well supported by the usual grant mechanisms that NIH had in place, both at that time and indeed at the current time. And here, the important point is that the access to the resources that produced the molecule really envisioned the academic researcher as the entity that would hold the IND, Investigational New Drug application, and direct the course of the clinical trial.

So what was new about RAID was the concept that the academic researcher would be empowered to pursue ideas that they had generated in the laboratory and through peer review proven to be worth clinical testing, even without an alliance with a company or even without an alliance to the NCI clinical trials apparatus itself.

Mary Wolpert, Ph.D.
Chief, GCOB, DTP

The RAID program, in my view, has been a very successful program. The program was actually created at the request of the academic investigators and the SPORE program. I was there when I think the program was conceptually developed and my memory is that it resulted from a question from Dr. Marc Lippman, who's now at the University of Michigan.

He asked Dr. Wittes why it was that molecules being developed by academia couldn't be developed through the same drug development contract resources that the pharmaceutical companies and others could use and Dr. Wittes thought a minute and said, "I'll have to get back to you on that, I'm not really sure if we could do that."

Dr. Wittes came back, and he and Ed Sausville, and others, started looking into the legal ramifications and created the RAID program, which has really been a help to the academic sector because many of the activities required to develop a compound to clinical trial are just not supported with grants.

You have to have so many formulation studies and toxicology studies that are typically just not supported with the grant mechanism, yet are absolutely essential to getting an investigational new drug application. Our contract resources are perfect for that, we have all of the expertise assembled, we've had this program since 1955, and we have a well-trained staff who can assign the projects and oversee them.

And we've been able to fill this niche. So I think, here again, we see the marriage of the academic investigator with the brilliant ideas but lacking the wherewithal to do the developmental steps. And here is where DTP is able to step up to the plate and do all these necessary steps and we actually have numerous drugs now in clinical trial that have come through the RAID program.