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Drug companies share data to speed brain research

WASHINGTON (AP) - A dozen competing drug companies are coming together in hopes of finding new treatments for Alzheimer's.

In an unusual step, the drug companies have agreed to share data on more than 4,000 Alzheimer's patients. By pooling resources from clinical trials, scientists can hunt trends that may suggest what to study next.

The database was created in consultation with government regulators and the National Institutes of Health. It'll also be available to brain researchers not affiliated with drug companies in hopes of eventually addressing other brain diseases such as Parkinson's.

Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein of the Food and Drug Administration says this kind of collaboration represents "a major shift in thinking about how to accelerate drug development."

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