NIH partners 11 drugmakers to accelerate cancer therapy research

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By Reuters Staff

(Reuters) - The National Institutes of Health said on Thursday it had partnered 11 biopharma companies to help advance a new class of drugs that uses the body's immune system to fight cancer.

The five-year public-private research collaboration, called Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies, includes drugmakers AbbVie, Roche Holding AG and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The new class of immunotherapies, such as Roche's Tecentriq and Bristol-Myers' Opdivo, works by enlisting the body's defenses to fight the tumors.

Merck & Co Inc, whose Keytruda leads the fast-expanding field of immunotherapies, is not involved in the partnership.

Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson, Amgen Inc, Celgene Corp, Gilead Sciences Inc and GlaxoSmithKline Plc are part of the effort, NIH said.

The 11 partners would contribute up to $1 million each year for five years, while NIH would add about $160 million, based on availability of funds.

The partnership will be managed by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

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