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Bayer, Broad Institute collaborate for cancer therapy

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bayer HealthCare is collaborating with the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass. for oncogenomics and drug discovery. The Broad Institute, a nonprofit biomedical research institutes, brings together scientists from Harvard, MIT and Harvard-affiliated hospitals, and has experience in genomics, cancer, chemical biology and drug discovery. They intend to jointly discover and develop therapeutic agents that selectively target cancer genome alterations over a period of five years.

“The Broad Institute’s scientists have created systematic catalogues of mutational changes across different types of tumors, laying a foundation for the development of new cancer therapies and diagnostics,” said professor Andreas Busch, head of global drug discovery and member of the executive committee of Bayer HealthCare.

Oncogenomics is oncology research that identifies and characterizes genes associated with cancer. Cancer is caused by accumulation of DNA mutations which leads to uncontrolled cell proliferation and tumor formation. The goal of oncogenomics research is to identify new genes which in a modified (mutated) version stimulate (oncogenes) or lose their ability to suppress (tumor suppressor genes) tumor cell growth. This may provide new insights into cancer diagnosis, predicting clinical outcome of cancers and new targets for cancer therapies. Targeting individual patient tumor mutations will allow for the development of more personalized cancer treatments.

Both organizations will explore their compound libraries and use their screening platforms as well as medicinal chemistry experience to benefit joint projects. The collaboration will be based on joint decision-making and the rights to the research findings are shared equally. Joint research and joint steering committees will be established for the initiation and selection of projects and as governance structures. Bayer will have an option for an exclusive license for therapeutic agents at the preclinical development stage. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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