We do not intend for government grants to be a principal commercial or strategic focus, but will evaluate opportunities when consistent with our strategic priorities. We do not expect to generate any product revenue for the foreseeable future. However, future revenue may include amounts attributable to partnership activities including, a combination of research and development payments, license fees and other upfront payments, milestone payments, product sales and royalties, and reimbursement of certain research and development expenses, in connection with the Purdue Collaboration or any future collaboration and licenses.
Research and development expense
The following table summarizes our research and development expenses incurred during the periods indicated:
(dollars in thousands)
Clinical development programs expense
Platform and discovery-related expense
Facilities, depreciation, and other expenses
Total research and development expense
Full time employees (end of period)
Research and development expense was $14.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2017 and $13.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, an increase of $0.4 million, or 3%. Included in clinical development expense for the year ended December 31, 2017 was approximately $1.4 million of expense that is reimbursed by Purdue (included in revenue) related to the Phase 1b trial of AST-005. The increase in research and development expense of $0.4 million was primarily due to a net increase in costs related to our clinical development programs of $2.2 million and higher employee-related expenses of $0.4 million, mostly offset by lower platform and discovery-related expense of $2.2 million.
The net increase in clinical development programs expense of $2.2 million was mostly due to higher costs for preparation for the Phase 1 clinical trials of both AST-008 and XCUR17. Higher employee-related expense of $0.4 million was mostly the result of salary increases and a change in mix of scientific staff as well as higher bonus expense. The decrease in platform and discovery-related expense of $2.2 million is mostly due to the absence of a Northwestern University license agreements fee and lower costs related to contract research organizations, partially offset by higher costs to maintain our intellectual property portfolio.
We expect our research and development expenses to increase in 2018 as we continue spending on our clinical development programs, further develop our SNA technology platform and broaden our pipeline of SNA-based candidates.