NIH, Biopharmaceutical Companies, Non-profits Work to Speed Validation of Disease Targets

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NIH, 10 biopharmaceutical companies, and several nonprofit organizations form a partnership to develop new treatments earlier for Alzheimer's, type 2 diabetes, and autoimmune disorders.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), 10 biopharmaceutical companies, and several nonprofit organizations have formed a partnership to transform the current model for identifying and validating the biological targets of disease for new diagnostics and drug development.

The Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) aims to distinguish biological targets of disease most likely to respond to new therapies and characterize biological indicators of disease, known as biomarkers. Through the Foundation for the NIH (FNIH), AMP partners will invest more than $230 million over five years in the first projects, which focus on Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and the autoimmune disorders rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus).

A crucial element of the partnership is the agreement that the data and analyses generated will be made publicly available to the broad biomedical community. The three- to five-year, milestone-driven pilot projects in these disease areas could set the stage for broadening AMP to other diseases and conditions.

As a result of technological revolutions in genomics and imaging, researchers have been able to identify many changes in genes, proteins, and other molecules that predispose to disease and influence disease progression. While researchers have identified thousands of such biologica lchanges, only a small number have been pursued. Choosing the wrong target can result in failures late in the development process, costing time, money, and potentially, lives, according to NIH.

Development of AMP began two years ago, with interactions between scientists in the public and private sectors, progressive refinement of the goals, strategy development support from the Boston Consulting Group, and scientific project and partnership management by the FNIH. Through this effort, AMP partners have developed research plans and are sharing costs, expertise, and resources in an integrated governance structure that enables the best-informed contributions to science from all participants, according to NIH.

Steering committees with representation from public- and private-sector partners will be established for each disease area to oversee the research plans. These committees will be managed by FNIH under the direction of an AMP executive committee comprised of leaders from NIH, biopharmaceutical companies, FDA, and patient advocacy organizations.

Source: National Institutes of Health