Academic centers around the world have been at the forefront of the research going into a wave of immuno-therapeutics for cancer. Now Roche, a big player in the field, has committed $100 million to build up tech and data sharing activities among 21 of these academic groups.
By aggregating and sharing data, Roche believes the collective research IQ of the 21 centers — dubbed imCORE; the immunotherapy Centers of Research Excellence Network — will go a long way to accelerating work on new programs that will find better ways to concentrate an immune system attack on cancer cells.
For Roche and the cancer specialist Genentech, that field delivered the world’s first PD-L1 checkpoint, Tecentriq, which is distinguishing itself in a frenzied clinical rivalry with the two key leaders: Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb. AstraZeneca and Pfizer/Merck KGaA are looking to make a late arrival with their own programs.
Collaboration and combinations have become the big focus now, as hundreds of new studies of checkpoint drugs test the potential for finding new ways to fight cancer. And that’s where Roche is hoping this academic network can make a difference.
“We believe the fastest way to advance progress against cancer is through collaboration, and consistent with our values, the goal of imCORE is to facilitate access to new technologies and emerging data among the top researchers around the world,” said Sandra Horning, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development. “imCORE represents our most recent commitment to collaborate with the global cancer community to further understand the biology and immunology of cancer and to develop new treatments that may one day offer a cure for people with cancer.’’
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