10 pharmas form nonprofit TransCelerate to accelerate R&D of new medicines

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 02:46 PM

Ten biopharmaceutical companies have formed a non-profit organization, TransCelerate BioPharma, to accelerate the development of new medicines. Participants include Abbott, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Genentech and Sanofi.

TransCelerate is the largest ever initiative of its kind and will identify and solve common drug development challenges with the end goals of improving the quality of clinical studies and bringing new medicines to patients faster. Through participation in TransCelerate, each of the 10 founding companies will combine financial and other resources, including personnel, to solve industry-wide challenges in a collaborative environment. Together, member companies have agreed to 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," said Garry Neil, the newly appointed acting CEO of TransCelerate, a partner at Apple Tree Partners, and former corporate vice president of science and technology for Johnson & Johnson.  "Our mission at TransCelerate BioPharma is to work together across the global research and development community and share research and solutions that will simplify and accelerate the delivery of exciting new medicines for patients."

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.

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), CROs, and regulatory bodies including the FDA and EMA.

"This collaborative approach in the pre-competitive arena, utilizing 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,” said Janet Woodcock, director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Robert Califf, co-chair of CTTI and director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, added, "These leading pharmaceutical companies are in a position to significantly influence changes in the way that clinical trials are done, so that better answers about the benefits and risks of drugs and other therapies are provided in a more efficient manner.”

TransCelerate BioPharma evolved from relationships fostered via the Hever Group, a forum for executive R&D leadership to discuss relevant issues facing the industry and solutions for addressing common challenges. TransCelerate was incorporated in early August 2012 and will file for non-profit status this fall.  The board of directors includes R&D heads of 10 member companies. Membership in TransCelerate is open to all pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies who can contribute to and benefit from these shared solutions. TransCelerate's headquarters will be located in Philadelphia, Penn.

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