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article image$230 million for research into major diseases

By Tim Sandle     Feb 8, 2014 in Science
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has entered into an agreement with 10 drug companies to find new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced a partnership with major drug companies called Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP). The AMP is a five-year, $230 million program where the agency is set to team up with 10 drug companies to study Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
The NIH, in essence the U.S. government, will provide approximately half of that sum, while the remaider of the funds will come from the program’s industry partners, including Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, and Sanofi.
The AMP has been more than two years in the making and it will be overseen by the Foundation for the NIH. The objective, according to Science Insider, is to develop medications for major diseases faster and more effectively.
It is an untried approach, as the Wall Street Journal notes: "The pact is unusual because drug companies are traditionally secretive about their science, rushing to acquire patents to protect rights to potential future drugs. The new agreement bars participants from using any discovery for their own drug research until the project makes data public on that discovery."
Discussing the partnership, Dr. Francis Collins of the NIH said on his blog: "AMP has been more than two years in the making, with hundreds of hours of intense discussions among creative minds who truly rolled up their sleeves and left their affiliations at the door. And here’s one important lesson we learned: you can’t change the world—or in this case, drug development—overnight."
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