Bristol-Myers Squibb has entered into a five-year research collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University. The collaboration is designed to identify mechanisms of response and resistance in patients whose cancer is being treated with checkpoint inhibitor-based immunotherapies, including Opdivo (nivolumab) monotherapy, or Opdivo in combination with Yervoy (ipilimumab) or other investigational immunotherapies.
Under the collaboration, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Johns Hopkins’ scientists will launch an interdisciplinary research program that will study patient tumor samples in four primary research areas: characterization of tumor antigens and tumor antigen-specific T-cells, multifaceted profiling of the tumor microenvironment, assessment of microbiome components that modulate systemic anti-tumor immunity, and elucidation of novel tumor and immuno-metabolism factors that modify responsiveness to immunotherapy.
“This important collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, a leader in the field of translational Immuno-Oncology research, builds upon our strong working relationship and will enhance our scientific understanding of the role of various immunotherapies both alone and in combination, and at different points in the treatment continuum,” said Francis Cuss, MB, BChir, FRCP, chief scientific officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “We believe that findings from this research may help to inform the future of immunotherapy drug development as it relates to patient selection, clinical trial design and the identification of new biomarkers.”
“We’re at an inflection point of understanding the root causes of response and resistance to immunotherapy, and this collaboration will help propel the research needed to identify ways to expand immunotherapy effectiveness to more patients,” said Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Johns Hopkins will also explore several early-stage clinical trials primarily focused on, but not limited to, the study of neoadjuvant immunotherapeutic interventions.
This agreement builds on the productive track record of collaboration between Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center- both leaders in the transformative field of Immuno-Oncology. Johns Hopkins is a founding member of the International Immuno-Oncology Network (II-ON), a global collaboration between Bristol-Myers Squibb and 13 academia centers that aims to further the scientific understanding of immuno-oncology. The two organizations also entered into an agreement in November 2015 as part of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Immuno-Oncology Rare Population Malignancy (I-O RPM) program in the U.S.