Sanofi, Mass. General Hospital launch oncology research collaboration

Thursday, October 11, 2012 07:00 AM

Global healthcare company Sanofi has formed a two-year agreement with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) aimed at furthering translational medicine research to develop new treatments for various types of hematological malignancies and solid tumors.

The project-based collaboration unites scientists from MGH and Sanofi, with the goal of maximizing the strengths of both academic and industry cross-organizational expertise, and will include both pre-clinical and clinical translational research to elucidate questions from proof-of-concept to tolerability, efficacy and effectiveness.

The global oncology division of Sanofi, based in Cambridge, Mass., and Vitry-sur-Seine, France, will collaborate with Dr. Daniel Haber, Dr. Keith Flaherty and Dr. Jeffrey Engelman at the MGH Cancer Center to share scientific expertise, R&D capabilities and resources to execute joint projects. The collaboration will initially involve two early development molecules, both of which are viewed as promising approaches to developing new treatments for various types of advanced tumors.

"As we build our R&D presence in the Boston area, Sanofi is becoming part of the region's vibrant biomedical ecosystem—expanding our network beyond our own walls through innovative collaborations with top external research teams," said Elias Zerhouni, M.D., president of global R&D, Sanofi. "This research collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital exemplifies how we are leveraging these relationships in a translational and experimental medicine approach to drug discovery and clinical development—one that combines and complements our collective understanding of complex disease, expertise in biological science, and deep knowledge of medicines to help accelerate delivery of treatments to patients with unmet medical needs."

Sanofi has embraced a translational and experimental medicine (T&EM) approach to drug discovery and clinical development, combining an expertise in biological science with a deep understanding of the needs of patients with complex diseases. The company has fully integrated T&EM into the drug discovery and development processes, with a dedicated team of basic research and T&EM experts delivering scientific tools and designs around predictive biomarkers, molecular/mechanistic proof-of-concept (mPOC), identification of rational combinations, and elucidation of resistance mechanisms to identify patients most likely to respond to a given therapy.

"Cancer research is at a critical point right now, and we are dedicated to developing new therapeutics that will lead to better treatments and cures," said Engelman, an MGH oncologist who specializes in lung cancer. "The creativity and innovative thinking that can come from collaborations between academic medical centers and industry will help transform ideas and early drug development studies into the promise of restored health for patients and families."

The initial agreement is for two years with the option to extend for a longer term at the discretion of both partners. Financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

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