Valley of death: A proposal to build a “translational bridge” for the next generation

Nao J. Gamo, Michelle R. Birknow, Danielle Sullivan, Mari A. Kondo, Yasue Horiuchi, Takeshi Sakurai, Barbara S. Slusher, Akira Sawa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


There is a great need for novel drug discovery for major mental illnesses, but multiple levels of challenges exist in both academia and industry, spanning from scientific understanding and institutional infrastructure to business risk and feasibility. The “valley of death,” the large gap between basic scientific research and translation to novel therapeutics, underscores the need to restructure education and academic research to cultivate the fertile interface between academia and industry. In this opinion piece, we propose strategies to educate young trainees in the process of drug discovery and development, and prepare them for careers across this spectrum. In addition, we describe a research framework that considers the disease trajectory and underlying biology of mental disorders, which will help to address the core pathophysiology in novel treatments, and may even allow early detection and intervention. We hope that these changes will increase understanding among academia, industry, and government, which will ultimately improve the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of mental disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Research
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Dimensional approach
  • Drug development
  • Drug discovery
  • Education
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Translational research
  • Valley of death


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