Sunday, 03 June 2012 23:40
Collaboration will focus on harnessing body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
Bristol-Myers Squibb has created a new International Immuno-Oncology Network, a collaboration between industry, universities, and research centers from around the world aimed at furthering the scientific understanding of immuno-oncology, or the human immune system’s potential to fight cancer.
In addition to Bristol-Myers Squibb, the collaboration consists of ten academic or cancer-research institutions from around the world including The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, the Institute of Cancer Research, and Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.
Collaborations between academia, private research institutions, and Big Pharma has become increasingly common as pharmaceutical companies continue to look outside their own walls to acquire promising new early-stage treatments and try to lessen both the risks and costs of developing such drugs.
The ultimate goal of the network is to “facilitate the translation of scientific research findings into clinical trials and, eventually, clinical practice,” the company says. “It will also work to further advance innovation in drug discovery and development.”
The public-private partnerships formed through the collaboration will leverage the intellectual capabilities of an extensive global network.
The role of immune-oncology in cancer is growing, and last year the concept of “evading immune destruction” was added to the Hallmarks of Cancer, a widely-referenced peer-reviewed article outlining traits that are believed to be the underlying pathways of cancer.
Bristol-Myers Squibb already has a large oncology portfolio and has been making a large push towards immune-oncology therapies. In an announcement made in mid-May regarding its entire oncology portfolio, Elliott Sigal, executive vice president at BMS, said “immuno-oncology is a key area of focus for Bristol-Myers Squibb and we are committed to driving advances in this important field of research.”
By VINAY SINGH