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Ten drugmakers team up to improve testing process

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Pharmaceutical industry heavyweights, including Eli Lilly and Co., are teaming up to address a challenge that's long vexed drugmakers: how to improve the way experimental drugs are tested so they can get approved, and reach patients, faster.

Ten top U.S. and European drugmakers have started a not-for-profit organization, called TransCelerate BioPharma, to collaborate on the problem.

Research productivity across the industry has been declining, with thousands of potential drugs failing for every one approved, but testing costs keep rising.

The new group will develop strategies to make it easier and quicker to set up and run clinical tests of experimental drugs.

Initial participants besides Indianapolis-based Lilly are Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Abbott, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Boehringer Ingelheim and Genentech.

The group's CEO, Garry Neil, says he expects to have initial results next summer.

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