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R&D experts applaud new initiative to validate biomedical studies

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Over the past year we've been treated to a number of reports underscoring just how rarely amazing biomedical studies can actually be independently reproduced in the lab. Now a Silicon Valley startup has begun offering scientists a chance to see if their work can pass the validation test and speed up the drug development process.

Science Exchange has partnered up with the open-access publisher PLoS to create the Reproducibility Initiative, which will tap an extensive network of clinical research organizations and "core facilities" to see if academics' work can be independently reproduced. Then the scientists can choose to publish the work in PLoS ONE.

"Improving the robustness of published data on early targets would have a significant impact on the efficiency of the drug development process," said Dr. Christopher Haskell, the head of the U.S. Science Hub at Bayer HealthCare, in a statement. "The Reproducibility Initiative seeks to address this challenge."

As Reuters notes, Bayer and others have found that many times cutting-edge preclinical drug studies can't be reproduced. Bayer reported that only one in four of the "landmark" studies they took on were validated in their labs. 

This initiative "recognizes that the problem of non-reproducibility exists and is taking the right steps to address it," C. Glenn Begley, Amgen's former cancer R&D chief, tells Reuters. The initiative will initially take on 40 to 50 published studies.

- read the release
- get the Reuters story
- here's an article from Nature

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