On September 19, ten top U.S. and European drugmakers announced that they have formed a new nonprofit organization called TransCelerate BioPharma Inc. ("TransCelerate") to help improve how experimental drugs are tested to get them to patients sooner. The New York Times broke the story, along with the Associated Press and Reuters getting the word out for this organization that has been in the works for about a year.
The ten companies are: (1) Abbott Laboratories Inc., (2) AstraZeneca Plc, (3) Boehringer Ingelheim, (4) Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., (5) Eli Lilly and Co., (6) GlaxoSmithKline Plc, (7) Johnson & Johnson, (8) Pfizer Inc., (9) Roche Holding's AG Genentech, and (10) Sanofi SA. TransCelerate's headquarters will be in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which it hopes to open later this year. All of the companies will contribute financial and other resources but for right now scientists and other staff are working from their corporate offices.
FDA's Director for the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research ("CDER"), Janet Woodcock, M.D., supported the move, said in a statement,
We applaud the companies in TransCelerate BioPharma for joining forces to address a series of longstanding challenges in new drug development.... This collaborative approach in the pre-competitive arena ... 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.
The interim chief of the effort is Garry Neil, former Corporate Vice President for Science and Technology at Johnson& Johnson. "There's never been anything like this to take on these big challenges," Neil said, who has so far offered no details on how big this project will get other than the initial focus would be five projects to make clinical trials more efficient with a budget in the millions of dollars. "We want to simplify, standardize, and also raise quality. ... We worry about potentially promising drugs which might not get studies unless we can increase the overall efficiency of the system. I think it will make it easier for companies," Neil added.