In the mid-1980s, the emerging semiconductor industry had a problem. Many competing standards and manufacturing practices were a costly drag on progress. U.S. chipmakers realized that solving common problems and developing industry-wide standards would benefit everyone. They created Sematech, a joint venture that helped solve thorny technical challenges and yielded industry-wide efficiencies that no company could have accomplished alone. By the mid-1990s, the group globalized and today represents more than half the worldwide semiconductor manufacturers.

Call 2013 the year that large pharmaceutical companies began to share in earnest. It started in 2012 when drug makers joined forces to create Transcelerate Biopharma, an independent entity that many of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies supported, including Abbott, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, Roche’s Genentech division, and Sanofi. The new organization will cooperate in precompetitive intelligence, such as creating standardized clinical trial formats, to reduce the cost of conducting human trials, the most costly aspect of bringing a new medicine to market.

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