The partnership sees the two organizations establishing a joint Virtual Research and Development Center to establish data sharing and analysis to advance research into gastrointestinal (GI) and lung cancer.
Tim Heffernan, executive director of the TRACTION platform at MD Anderson, told us, “By joining forces, this partnership enables access to multidisciplinary expertise that will accelerate the discovery and development of novel treatment options for patients with lung and GI cancers.”
The new center, while virtual in nature, will be responsible for advancing a portfolio of programs through preclinical and clinical development stages. The center will be funded by both Boehringer Ingelheim and MD Anderson and will include investigators from both organizations.
By working together, the two organizations can easily transfer data and access reagents and platforms as development progresses, said Heffernan.
The Virtual Research and Development Center also will focus on the development of potential new treatments including KRAS inhibition concepts, and a TRAILR2 agonistic antibody that has the potential to selectively induce cancer cell death.
“This partnership combines an innovative pipeline of KRAS and TRAIL-R2 targeting agents with unique research and translational platforms and a robust clinical infrastructure at MD Anderson,” said Heffernan.
MD Anderson’s Therapeutics Discovery division will be heavily involved in the collaborative work at the center. The division currently uses the organization’s Translational Research to Advance Therapeutics and Innovation in Oncology, or TRACTION, platform to establish translational research.
The team includes clinicians and researchers and uses the translational research platform to determine which patients will see the most benefit from the new medicines developed.
Heffernan said in a statement that the collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim will enable MD Anderson to advance its innovative pipeline of cancer medicines. He added, “Our therapeutics discovery team is well-poised to conduct impactful translational research, and this partnership will allow us to more rapidly advance much-needed new therapies to patients.”