The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) had joined a global group of organisations that aims to speed up access to new, effective and affordable drugs.
Led by the Center for Biomedical Innovation (CBI) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the New Drug Development Paradigms programme brings together pharmaceutical companies, academic researchers, patient advocacy groups, government agencies involved in healthcare and other experts to accelerate the provision of new therapies to patients.
The NEWDIGS initiative utilises MIT's expertise in the field of systems engineering to design and test scenarios for the development of new drugs.
Systems engineering is concerned with the design and management of complex projects, ranging from bridge building to spacecraft design, and uses a range of different methods to redesign work processes.
"NEWDIGS' approach to designing, evaluating and catalysing change in new drug development and delivery is built around participation of a broad range of stakeholders," said Gigi Hirsch, MD, NEWDIGS' programme director and executive director of MIT CBI.
"Through its role in providing evidence-based guidance and technology assessments, NICE is a key member of the biomedical innovation ecosystem. NICE has been a valuable contributor to our initiatives and we look forward to their expanded role as a NEWDIGS collaboration partner."
NICE has already collaborated with NEWDIGS on the European Medicines Agency pilot scheme, which seeks to determine whether a more stepwise approach to medicine development and authorisation could speed up access to drugs while providing more information on a medicine's benefits and risks.
In addition, NICE is working on NEWDIGS' Janus Program, which explores the possible effects of new and different ways of developing drugs on the healthcare system using a number of techniques. Its aim is to create a 'toolkit' that will simplify the creation of new drug development processes.
Finally, the results of the Janus Program will be used by NICE to look at the contribution of 'real world' data, which is gathered on the use of a drug in a clinic rather than as part of a traditional clinical trial.
The data obtained could supplement information from standard clinical trials to provide healthcare decision-makers with insights into the effectiveness of new drugs in practice.