NIH's Francis Collins says they will be partnering with 8 drug makers in a $230 M effort to look for biomarkers and to define drug pathways for Alzheimer's, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The 8 durg companies participating include: AbbVie, Biogen Idec, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi and Takeda. Roche dropped out late in the game when schizoprenia was dropped from the initiative. Amgen dropped out as they have their own such program for diseases they are interested in, and purchased deCODE in 2012 to lead that effort.
Once again, it is a BIG idea along the lines of its Translational Medicine initiative that Collins and the NIH is spearheading. It's an attempt to tackle big issues with more resources than can be mustered by single entities. The goal is to create a sort of "Google Maps of human disease" and then clear the way for each company to try to exploit the uncovered joint information by producing drugs as fast as possible -- the incentive being first to market. NIH believes that it has developed a balanced system that maximizes the potential of each player involved. See Fierce Biotech and Bloomberg.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Feb 4th 2014.