NIH and partners AMP up medical research

The National Institutes of Health has announced what it calls the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP). Under AMP, NIH, 10 biopharmaceutical companies, and several nonprofit organizations will attempt to “transform the current model for developing new diagnostics and treatments by jointly identifying and validating promising biological targets of disease,” according to NIH. “The ultimate goal is to increase the number of new diagnostics and therapies for patients and reduce the time and cost of developing them.”

Initial AMP initiatives include three- to five-year pilot projects in three disease areas: Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and the autoimmune disorders rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus).

Speaking earlier this week on the Diane Rehm Show, Dr. Francis Collins, director Of The NIH, said he wanted to address many more areas as well ultimately came to agreement with the partner organizations to maintain a reasonable focus.

Collins also said on the show that with respect to Alzheimer's research, imaging has recently enabled significant improvements in diagnostics. Imaging companies such as Siemens are not among the AMP partners. However, Eli Lilly, maker of the AMYViD PET-scanning radiopharmaceutical compound, is a partner.

Compounds such as AMYViD are radiotracers that enable PET/CT and PET/MRI systems to detect beta-amyloid plaque, a symptom of Alzheimer's disease.

In related news, Decision Resources Group reports that the United States Alzheimer's imaging-agent market will grow dramatically over the next 10 years, when Lilly's AMYViD, launched in June 2013, is joined by Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved products from GE Healthcare, Piramal Enterprises, and Navidea Biopharmaceuticals.

And last October 25, the FDA approved a second amyloid imaging agent—Flutemetamol, renamed Vizamyl—developed by GE Healthcare. Vizamyl is approved to report the intensity of binding to amyloid plaques in false color, potentially making scans easier to read, according to some experts.

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