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25-09-2012 | Article

Big pharma gives birth to non-profit Research and Development group


Press statement

medwireNews: Ten of the world's largest pharmaceutical manufacturers are putting their heads together to speed up the development of new drugs.

The companies announced the formation of a new non-profit group, dubbed TransCelerate BioPharma, at the 2012 BioPharm America conference in Boston, Massachusetts.

The goal of the group is "to work together across the global research and development community and share research and solutions that will simplify and accelerate the delivery of exciting new medicines for patients," according to interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Garry Neil.

The companies hope to trim the costs of taking a drug from the laboratory to market and knock at least a few years off the drug development cycle. According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the cost of shepherding a drug from a candidate compound to bringing an approved product to market is approximately $ 1.2 billion, and takes approximately 15 years.

The participating companies will pool their research and development (R&D) in an effort to "reduce bottlenecks in R&D and increase efficiency," Neil said. The partner companies are Abbott, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Company, Genentech (a member of the Roche Group), GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Sanofi.

The interim CEO says that the participating companies will work together to create new, uniform standards for R&D and to conduct large clinical trials more efficiently and economically. Ideally, the partnership will allow companies to focus on development of less profitable but no less important drugs for primary care indications such as diabetes, Sanofi's Elias Zerhouni said in an interview with Forbes.

The organization will focus on specific goals to create uniform standards for notating demographic and clinical variables in clinical trial records, standardize risk measurements used in trial reports, create a common trial registration website for physicians, standardize the process for training physicians and qualifying trial sites across all companies, and create a uniform process for head-to-head trials of experimental agents pitted against current therapies.

By Neil Osterweil, medwireNews reporter