Tuesday, February 4, 2014

BREAKING: Merck and 9 Other Pharma Majors To Partner With NIH On Several Chronic Diseases

I have several billable matters to attend to -- so just go read the above story. I hope to offer more than just in a bit, but here's the gist -- via Bloomberg:

. . . .NIH and the drugmakers will target Alzheimer’s, diabetes, lupus and arthritis. . . .

Data generated from the work will be made public for other scientists to use, a move that the U.S. National Institutes of Health called groundbreaking. The targeted diseases are some of the most prevalent chronic conditions among Americans and cost the nation billions of dollars in treatments and lost productivity.

“Currently, we are investing a great deal of money and time in avenues with high failure rates, while patients and their families wait,” the NIH director, Francis Collins, said in a statement today. “All sectors of the biomedical enterprise agree that new approaches are sorely needed. . . .”

Recall that Merck already competes in several of these areas (as do the other nine). The general terms of any such "NIH partnership" always require the sharing -- with the research community, at large -- any novel discoveries, and any blind alley (dead end) identified. The good news is that most of big pharma is locking arms, and agreeing to the same. Less competitive disadvantage, that way. And it only covers a specified number of approaches to the disease states, not all the novel ideas Merck might have in the area. Even so, some of the discovery approaches are likely to become public domain assets. Net, net -- it IS the right thing to do, but may not maximize any one individual drug company's profits, at any of the ten major drugmakers participating -- as to these disease states.

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