Boehringer Ingelheim and MD Anderson form unique virtual research and development center to rapidly advance new cancer therapies
MD Anderson News Release August 12, 2019
Boehringer Ingelheim and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center today announced a new multi-year partnership to conduct collaborative research to rapidly advance therapies for various types of cancers, including gastrointestinal and lung cancers. The establishment of a joint Virtual Research and Development Center will enable effective data sharing and analysis between the organizations.
The partnership is built on a flexible framework, allowing for projects to enter at different stages (research, development and/or clinical stage) over several years. It further combines the unique patient-driven drug-development capabilities of MD Anderson’s Therapeutics Discovery division with the innovative pipeline of novel medicines from Boehringer Ingelheim.
MD Anderson’s Therapeutics Discovery division is a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and researchers focused on advancing the next generation of cancer therapies. As part of the division, the TRACTION (Translational Research to Advance Therapeutics and Innovation in Oncology) platform conducts cutting-edge translational research to better understand how new medicines work and which patients will see most benefit.
“We could not have chosen a better partner with all its research, translational and clinical expertise in lung and gastrointestinal cancers. Together, we hope to transform the treatment landscape for these diseases by tackling their root causes and drivers, that have so far remained elusive, exploring new and smart ways of killing cancer cells,” said Victoria Zazulina, M.D., corporate vice president and global head of Oncology, Medicine, at Boehringer Ingelheim. “Our innovative oncology pipeline coupled with strong partnerships like this will contribute to unravelling the complexities of these diseases and bringing innovative solutions to people with various types of cancers.”
The Virtual Research and Development Center will focus on the development of potential new treatments including:
- KRAS inhibition concepts, as mutations in the KRAS gene are common in various cancers, specifically in certain types of lung and gastrointestinal cancers.
- a TRAILR2 agonistic antibody, with the potential to selectively induce cancer cell death (apoptosis).
“Within MD Anderson, we are committed to a singular goal of ending cancer,” said Tim Heffernan, Ph.D., executive director of TRACTION at MD Anderson. “We look forward to working with Boehringer Ingelheim to advance their innovative pipeline of cancer medicines. 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.”
More than 4.1 million people die from gastrointestinal and lung cancers every year worldwide, indicating an urgent need for new treatment approaches. Gastrointestinal cancers represent a heterogeneous complex array of diseases, and include oesophageal (throat), gastric (stomach), liver, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers. In 2018, lung cancer caused more than 1.7 million deaths. There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).