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Our modern health care system demands therapeutic interventions that improve the lives of patients. Unfortunately, decreased productivity in therapeutics research and development (R&D) has driven drug costs up while delivering insufficient value to patients. Here, I discuss a model of translational medicine that connects four components of the early R&D pipeline—causal human biology, therapeutic modality, biomarkers of target modulation, and proof-of-concept clinical trials. Whereas the individual components of this model are not new, technological advances and a disciplined approach to integrating all four areas offer hope for improving R&D productivity.
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