Focus. And I love focus. I think this is critical. I love these 2 quotes. David Packard, who founded Hewlett-Packard, spent a lot of time [in the barrier] advising companies. And he said this to all of them: More organizations die of indigestion than starvation.
And you might even think that's intuitive. But again, these companies believe not only that, that wasn't true, but believe the opposite, that they would likely die of starvation. And they eat too much. They have too many projects. And that's why they die because none of them are adequately resourced.
And one of the things I heard over and over, when I met with the folks in R&D, was that despite spending a lot of money, we did not have many teams saying I'm adequately resourced. And I think that what we did was we didn't get rid of the least likely to work, to fund aggressively the ones that are most likely to work.
I like how Steve Jobs said it. I'm as proud of many of the things we haven't done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things. And supposedly, in Apple, there's a little sign that says, simplify, simplify, simplify, with the last 2 simplifies crossed out. And I think this is the kind of culture that I would love to have at GSK, and R&D in particular, so that we can really incentivize people to focus.
Now we have been focusing. As Emma said, the -- when you saw the numbers earlier, R&D spend is down. And that's not surprising. We have made 65 decisions to terminate partner or divest programs since April 2017. 42 programs were in the clinical phase, and the remainder were preclinical. There was more than 400 FTEs freed up to be able to work on programs, like I said, with BCMA and GM-CSF, and other programs that we want to push aggressively to do this. And we're going to be continuously looking at the portfolio to find opportunities to see things that are working and aggressively move them forward, and things that are less likely to work, and removing them.
This is the pipeline. There's a lot of upcoming milestones that will inform our progress. Again, my commitment to you is that every 6 months or so, we'll be very transparent about what decisions we've made, what progress we've made, what things haven't worked for efficacy or safety or whatever that are being removed. Sometimes we can tell you right away. Sometimes, we have to wait for the data to mature and be presented at a meeting. But we're going to be much more transparent about this, so that you can actually see, is this strategy bringing value as measured by the kind of assets that you see in the pipeline?
So the new approach, really, will go from an organization that we believe was spread quite thin across many different programs. A consensus-driven making organization and an organization where R&D and commercial are a bit siloed, and where we have limited business development activity, to an organization where we aggressively back the best potential medicines, removing those that don't look promising. Create a culture of accountability, where smart risk-taking and courageous decisions are made by individuals. And that's not to say we won't have teams, but teams will have leaders, who are accountable for making a decision. And those decisions are rewarded when they're smart risks.
We'll have robust governance models with scientific peer review, commercial input. Emma [CEO] mentioned that [Luke] and I -- one of the fun things about my job is I get to work very closely with Luke . We've reorganized the portfolio investment board. We've got really terrific analytics that help us make good decisions from Kate Priestman's group. And I think we're together seeing how to optimize the portfolio because that's how you help the most number of patients and provide shareholder value. And of course, you heard that we're going to be investing significantly in business development to further optimize the portfolio. Where and what depending on data readouts.