Among other core business challenges, biopharmaceutical companies strive to reduce bottlenecks in R&D and increase efficiency. With that in mind, it was interesting to see an announcement last week that 10 leading biopharmaceutical companies have formed a non-profit organization to collaborate and accelerate the development of new medicines.
Those 10 companies are: Abbott, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Genentech (a member of the Roche Group), and Sanofi. Last week, at the BioPharm America™ conference in Boston, they announced they formed TransCelerate BioPharma, the largest initiative of its type.
The goal for the companies is to work together across the global research and development community and share research and solutions that will simplify and accelerate the delivery of new medicines, says newly appointed interim CEO of TransCelerate, Garry Neil, MD, partner at Apple Tree Partners and formerly Corporate VP, Science & Technology, Johnson & Johnson, in a Reuters story.
This is all about accelerating transformative innovation, Neil continued. “We’re really working collectively in a way we haven’t done before,” he says in the article.
A Canada Newswire story reports that through participation in TransCelerate, each of the founding companies will combine financial and other resources, including personnel, to solve industry-wide challenges collaboratively. Together, they agreed on specific outcome-oriented objectives and established guidelines for sharing meaningful information and expertise to advance collaboration. There is widespread alignment among the heads of R&D at major pharmaceutical companies that there is a critical need to substantially increase the number of innovative new medicines, while eliminating inefficiencies that drive up R&D costs, says Neil in the article.
Members of TransCelerate have identified clinical study execution as the initiative’s initial area of focus. Five projects have been selected by the group for funding and development, including: development of a shared user interface for investigator site portals, mutual recognition of study site qualification and training, development of risk-based site monitoring approach and standards, development of clinical data standards, and establishment of a comparator drug supply model.
The Canada Newswire story further explains that as shared solutions in clinical research and other areas are developed, TransCelerate will involve industry alliances including Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC), Critical-Path Institute (C-Path), Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI), Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), regulatory bodies including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA), and Contract Research Organizations (CROs).
Janet Woodcock, MD, director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, says in the Canada Newswire story that the Center applauds the companies in TransCelerate BioPharma for joining together to address a series of longstanding challenges in new drug development. The collaborative approach in the pre-competitive arena, using the collective experience and resources of 10 leading drug companies and others to follow, has the promise to lead to new paradigms and cost savings in drug development, all of which would strengthen the industry and its ability to develop innovative and much-needed therapies for patients, she says.
Considering that all these companies face the same pressure to accelerate the delivery of new drugs, as well as the same need to reduce costs and inefficiencies, it makes sense that they are willing to collaborate. By pooling their resources, one would think the companies would be able to achieve their objectives, consequently reducing costs while developing new drugs quicker.
What do you think? Will the companies’ collaborative efforts enable them to simplify yet also accelerate the delivery of new medicines?