New Coalition of Pharma Competitors to Develop New Drugs for Rare Diseases

The newly formed Accelerating Medicines Partnership finds the FDA and NIH joining heads with pharma competitors Johnson & Johnson, AbbVie, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Merck, Takeda, Sanofi, Biogen Idec, Bristol-Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline as part of a new drug development project. AMP aims to reduce lengthy and costly timelines for drug programs, NIH said Tuesday.

“This type of collaboration will leverage the strengths of both industry and NIH to ensure we expedite translation of scientific knowledge into next generation therapies to address the urgent needs of Alzheimer’s, diabetes and [rheumatoid arthritis (RA)]/lupus patients,” said Pfizer spokesman Mikael Dolsten.

Initial three-to-five-year pilot projects on those conditions will undertake to:

  • Identify new biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Build a knowledge portal of data from studies on heart and kidney complications of type 2 diabetes and focus on DNA regions that might play critical roles in development; and
  • Collect and analyze tissue and blood samples from RA and lupus patients to identify cellular-level changes and identify differences between patients who respond to therapies and those that do not.

The partnership will have an initial budget of $230 million, the NIH says, and all results from these projects will be shared publicly with the biomedical community. Pilot projects may also potentially lead to expansion into new disease areas. — Lena Freund