Biogen joins a GSK-led data-sharing project to make R&D more efficient

Biogen ($BIIB) has signed up with a GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK)-founded effort to better understand the underlying biology of disease, hoping to map out better targets for future therapies by collaborating on early-stage research.

GSK's Lon Cardon

The Big Biotech is lending its weight to the Center for Therapeutic Target Validation, or CTTV, a public-private endeavor launched by GSK, the Wellcome Trust's Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute in 2014.

CTTV's founding principle is that drug developers can more easily do their jobs if they understand just what they're chasing. Roughly 90% of compounds that enter clinical trials never manage to demonstrate the efficacy necessary to become approved products, according to the center, and many of those failures stem from cloudy understandings of the biological underpinnings of human disease. The goal of CTTV is to unite industry and academia in the process of target validation, working together to flesh out the natural causes of illness in hopes of creating better drugs down the line.

All of CTTV's work is precompetitive, and the center has promised to share its findings with the world in the interest of advancing biomedical science.

"Our ambition on this is very simple," GSK Senior Vice President Lon Cardon said upon the center's launch. "Improve the selection of targets we pursue and therefore improve the attrition rate and make better medicines in the end."

For Biogen, joining CTTV dovetails with the company's interest in "advancing evidence-based target discovery and opening up the field for researchers to create innovative methods and tools to accelerate the development of new medicines," Vice President Sally John said in a statement.

"Being part of the CTTV helps us realize this vision and provides a practical, harmonized way to share data with the scientific community," she said.

- read the statement