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Bristol-Myers Squibb, Boston Medical Center Partner to Study Immuno-Oncology Response, Resistance

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Bristol-Myers Squibb and Boston Medical Center are collaborating on a multi-year research study on biomarkers that indicate sensitivity and resistance to standard-of-care checkpoint inhibitors.

The goal of the study is to identify prognostic and predictive immuno-oncology biomarkers across different cancers. The researchers will explore not only tissue and circulating biomarkers but also the role of the microbiome in predicting benefit from immune checkpoint inhibitors.

"The information we glean from this collaboration will ultimately inform the development of novel therapeutic strategies to improve response rates and outcomes for patients," Saurabh Saha, senior VP and global head of translational medicine at BMS, said in a statement.

This is the first partnership BMS has announced since opening its new Cambridge R&D site in November at Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. That site is focused on improving understanding of and eventually overcoming the challenge of immuno-oncology resistance, Saha said. BMS and Boston Medical Center will conduct the research together and may jointly publish the output.

One of the advantages of partnering with Boston Medical Center is that it will allow BMS to study biomarkers in diverse patient populations. "Boston Medical Center serves a diverse patient population, with 70 percent of our patients coming from underserved communities," said Matthew Kulke, chief of hematology/oncology at Boston Medical Center. "These patients are sorely underrepresented in current research studies."

Earlier this week, BMS announced a separate deal to use H3 Biomedicine's RNA splicing platform to conduct joint research related to the development of cancer immunotherapies.