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WASHINGTON — The National Institutes of Health on Thursday announced a $215 million public-private partnership with 11 pharmaceutical companies in what the agency bills as a significant next step in its cancer moonshot.

The Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies, or PACT, is a five-year agreement to push ahead with research that seeks to “identify, develop and validate robust biomarkers — standardized biological markers of disease and treatment response — to advance new immunotherapy treatments that harness the immune system to attack cancer,” the agency said.

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