Biogen part of effort to speed drug development

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TRENTON, N.J. — The U.S. National Institutes of Health, 10 drugmakers and several disease foundations are starting an unusual project to find and bring new medicines, particularly for complex, expensive chronic diseases, to patients more quickly and for less money.

The Accelerating Medicines Partnership aims to do that by sharing expertise and even research findings and by focusing on the earliest part of drug discovery — learning more about how a disease begins and progresses — to find a vulnerable spot to attack it.

The partnership announced Tuesday will seek to identify biological targets present in a disease, such as abnormal genes or particular proteins. This initial phase of drug research is rarely competitive, unlike the race among drugmakers to test their experimental drugs in patients and beat competing companies to the market, often resulting in billions of extra dollars from drug sales.

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