A consortium of 11 US universities has formed a research partnership aimed at reducing the cost of pharmaceutical development and manufacturing.

The collaboration - called the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology and Education - will focus on learning more about the precise science involved in making pharmaceuticals and then exploring ways to reduce costs.

The NIPTE says it will play a critical role in tackling one of the major issues affecting the pharmaceutical industry – pressure on drug prices. It maintains that development and manufacturing processes have become so complex that it is not feasible for the industry to provide drugs at significantly lower prices, citing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that the cost of bringing a new drug to market can be as high as $1.7 billion, a 50% increase in just five years.

During the same period, the number of new drugs submitted for FDA approval has declined by 50%, according to the NIPTE.

The 11 universities are Duquesne University, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Purdue University, Rutgers University, the University of Maryland's School of Pharmacy and the universities of Connecticut, Puerto Rico, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, and Minnesota.

The NIPTE will focus its efforts on ways to improve drug development, manufacturing, process analytical technologies, modelling and informatics, regulatory science and education.