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SAN FRANCISCO — A global pharma company is teaming up with federal research labs and academics in an ambitious effort to slash the time spent screening potential cancer drugs before they make it into the clinic for testing.

The new consortium — dubbed Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine, or ATOM —  unveiled its plans on Friday, after a nearly two years of planning. Its goal: To cut the preclinical development time from six years to one.


Current drug discovery is “long, costly, and has a high failure rate,” John Baldoni, senior vice president for research and development at GlaxoSmithKline, said at press conference. “It’s a paradigm at being efficient at failure.”

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