NEW YORK – MD Anderson Cancer Center and biopharmaceutical company Sanofi today announced a five-year strategic partnership to advance immunotherapy and precision oncology drugs, which will allow Sanofi to take advantage of MD Anderson's clinical trial and genomic analysis infrastructure and conduct biomarker-driven studies.
The alliance specifically gives Sanofi access to MD Anderson's tissue collection platforms, as well as its data analysis and molecular and immune profiling capabilities. The drugmaker is hoping to use these capabilities to analyze tumor samples from cancer patients collected before, during, and after treatment, and use the data to select patients for investigational drug trials and identify new drug combinations and indications.
"Not only do clinical trials help us to advance life-saving new treatments for our patients in need, they provide us with valuable information to understand which therapies may be more effective for which patients," Funda Meric-Bernstam, chair of investigational cancer therapeutics at MD Anderson, said in a statement.
Within the alliance, Sanofi and MD Anderson will use a core set of biomarkers and assays to identify new indications for drugs already in the clinic and to improve understanding of the risk/benefit profile of new investigational agents at different disease stages. "MD Anderson's expertise in deep immune phenotyping and molecular profiling will provide invaluable insights into our emerging immunotherapy assets, helping us refine our selection of indications and explore new avenues," Dmitri Wiederschain, global head of Immuno-Oncology Research at Sanofi, said in a statement.
The partners also hope to apply molecular and phenotype datasets to design new translational studies on Sanofi's drugs, and use the findings to help Sanofi decide which assets to advance in the clinic.
"This will get us to go/no-go decisions much faster and help us identify potential new combinations and indications more accurately," Peter Adamson, Sanofi's global head of oncology development and pediatric innovation, said in a statement. "That will save precious time and help us expand the spectrum of patients who could potentially benefit from our therapies."
MD Anderson and Sanofi expect to launch their first collaborative project this summer.