WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced Tuesday it's teaming up with 10 big drug companies in an effort it called "unprecedented" to identify biological targets that could lead to new diagnostics and medicines.
The first diseases targeted by the public-private partnership, known as the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP), are Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, and two autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus).
The NIH said that AMP partners will invest more than 230 million U.S. dollars over five years on these first projects, which could set the stage for broadening the partnership to other diseases and conditions.
The data and analyses generated by the venture will be made publicly available to the broad biomedical community, it said.
"Currently, we are investing a great deal of money and time in avenues with high failure rates, while patients and their families wait," said NIH Director Francis Collins. "All sectors of the biomedical enterprise agree that ... this challenge is beyond the scope of any one of us and it's time to work together in new ways to increase our collective odds of success."
According to the NIH, developing a drug from early discovery through government approval in the United States takes over a decade and has a failure rate of more than 95 percent. As a consequence, each success costs more than 1 billion dollars.
"This type of novel 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 RA/lupus patients," Mikael Dolsten, president of worldwide research and development at Pfizer, said in a statement.
The other drug companies that participated in establishing the partnership are AbbVie, Biogen Idec, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Merck, Sanofi and Takeda.