Consortium of drug companies to speed up Parkinson's research

The seven pharmaceutical companies involved in the consortium believe working together will drive down the costs of clinical trials and make them more effective.
By Stephen Feller   |   Feb. 23, 2016 at 12:41 PM

LONDON, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Seven major pharmaceutical companies in Britain are joining forces, and funding, in an attempt to drive down the costs of clinical trials for Parkinson's disease treatments, and increase the efficacy of drugs they investigate.

The AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Biogen, Eli Lilly and Company, Merck Sharp and Dohme, Pfizer, and UCB announced they will be working with Parkinson's UK and the Critical Path Institute to improve research and care for Parkinson's patients.

The increasing cost of bringing drugs from research to market has bogged down the process, which is why the two groups have worked to motivate companies to come together.

"There is a strong realization from the industry that collaboration among industry, academia, and worldwide regulatory agencies, along with the sharing of data, has the potential to create a more efficient development process," Dr. Diane Stephenson, executive director for the consortium, said in a press release. "This recognition is evidenced by the fast pace at which members of this new consortium have joined."

The consortium took shape in October 2015 with the intention of linking researchers, drug companies and regulators to speed up the process and find ways to increase the number of participants in trials. About 70 percent of patients are willing to participate in drug trials, but only 24 percent have done so, according to Parkinson's UK.

The effort will be based at the Critical Path Institute in Arizona, with more than $1 million expected to be spent during the next three years, the consortium says in its mission statement.

"Investing in clinical trials for brain disorders currently carries a high cost and high risk of failure," Dr. Arthur Roach, director of research at Parkinson's UK, said. "We see the consortium as a crucial part of strategies to develop new treatments that work at the earliest stage of the condition, with the goal of slowing its progression, and eventually finding a cure."

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