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NIH’s New Accelerating Medicines Partnership

A Statement from Margaret Anderson, Executive Director, FasterCures on the NIH’s New Accelerating Medicines Partnership

February 4, 2014

FasterCures applauds the Accelerating Medicines Partnership, a new initiative launched today by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 10 biopharmaceutical companies, and several disease-specific non-profit organizations, and the Foundation for the NIH, for finding ways to take what we know about disease and begin the process of turning this remarkable scientific knowledge into therapies that could improve patients’ lives. Focusing on three disease areas: Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and the autoimmune disorders of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, this effort could pave the path for a new paradigm for drug development.

When it comes to the search for cures, no one can go it alone. The process of getting new medicines from the research laboratory to the patients is a long, expensive, and risky endeavor – and it requires all stakeholders to work together every step of the way. Despite the deluge of scientific knowledge brought about by efforts like the Human Genome project, a drought of new therapies remains, spotlighting the need for new ways to pursue the drug development process.

Collaborations like this hold tremendous promise. AMP aims to pool together scientists, tissue and blood samples, and data in an effort to figure out what molecule targets that a drug might act upon to change the course of a disease.

The industry partners have agreed to make the data and analyses from AMP publicly accessible to the broad biomedical community. Sharing information during this pre-competitive phase could make a big difference in saving time in the complex and time-consuming early stages of discovery. Ultimately, the outputs of this partnership could be broadly used by all parties involved – improving the medical research process, and most importantly, improving our prospects for bringing effective therapies to patients faster.

With a price tag of $230 million -- $119 million from NIH and $111 million from industry – over the course of five years, this effort is relatively small, especially considering that the global drug industry spends an estimated $135 billion per year on research and development. And, to be clear, the $111 from NIH is not new money. It’s small but it could have a mighty impact.

AMP is a shining example of how non-traditional partners with a shared goal can develop new ways to increase the productivity of our R&D enterprise in an environment of limited resources.

At FasterCures, we’ve recently initiated the Consortia-pedia project to better understand the breadth and scope of approaches that a wide range of research by consortium efforts have adopted. In 2012, we identified the launch of 51 new consortia – with most efforts centered on collaborative approaches that leverage expertise and resources of a wide range of partners to create tools and knowledge that advance the research objectives of all stakeholders. It's the rising tide that has the potential to advance the distinct goals of all researchers.

We look forward to the work that AMP will pursue and its potential to bring new medical solutions to patients.