MD Anderson, AstraZeneca enter collaboration to help improve patient outcomes in ovarian and gynecologic cancers

Collaboration draws on expertise from MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program

MD Anderson News Release 01/29/2015

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and AstraZeneca today announced a multiyear strategic research collaboration to conduct multiple, parallel clinical and clinically related studies in ovarian and other gynecologic cancers with the aim of improving patient outcomes.

The agreement represents a unique approach to research by focusing not just on clinical trials using investigational therapies but also on epidemiological and outcomes studies. AstraZeneca and MD Anderson aim to rethink how industry and academia can collaborate in deeper and broader ways to help expedite the development of treatments for women with high unmet medical needs.

The data collected from these studies is anticipated to inform the development and utility of existing and future therapies. MD Anderson scientists will have access to therapeutic agents in the AstraZeneca pipeline and future studies will be determined by the collaboration at a later date.

“AstraZeneca is committed to helping redefine the cancer treatment paradigm, beginning with our powerful clinical development program for ovarian cancer,” said Greg Keenan, chief medical officer U.S., AstraZeneca. “Working to fully realize the potential of novel targeted therapies and immunotherapies, as well as novel combinations to drive improved outcomes, engages us in true partnerships to better understand the science. The collaboration with MD Anderson is ideal as it maximizes both our ability to explore these combinations through AstraZeneca’s robust pipeline while providing us with unique insights and data.”

The collaboration will draw on the expertise of MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program, which aims to accelerate the conversion of scientific discoveries into clinical advances and significantly reduce cancer deaths. The effort also leverages resources such as MD Anderson’s Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy (IPCT) and novel agents from AstraZeneca. 

“Ovarian and other gynecologic cancers remain areas of high unmet need,” said Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Systems Biology, Division of Cancer Medicine at MD Anderson. Mills is co-leader of MD Anderson’s Breast and Ovarian Cancer Moon Shot and co-director of the IPCT.

“Collaborations that examine new agents and explore disease epidemiology and outcomes have the potential to inform the development of novel and combination treatments, and MD Anderson has the ability and expertise required to provide data-rich, rapid trials to inform this combination strategy,” said Mills.

Oncology is a core growth platform for AstraZeneca, and the company is aiming to bring six new cancer medicines to patients by 2020. AstraZeneca’s broad pipeline of oncology medicines is focused on four main disease areas –  breast, ovarian, lung and hematological cancers. These are being targeted through four key platforms – immunotherapy, the genetic drivers of cancer and resistance, DNA damage repair and antibody drug conjugates (ADCs).