M2Gen, a healthcare informatics solutions company, has announced a collaboration with pharmaceutical companies and the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN), an alliance of cancer centers throughout the U.S. M2Gen also announced that Celgene will be the industry's founding member of a network of participants joining in this new initiative. The launch of the ORIEN Avatar Research Program brings together the pre-eminent players in healthcare R&D pharmaceutical companies and academic cancer centers to find new treatments for millions of Americans battling advanced-stage cancers.
The collaboration, managed by M2Gen, will generate massive amounts of genetic and clinical information on patients consenting to the Total Cancer Care (TCC) Protocol, the largest prospective observational study of its kind in cancer. In collaboration with M2Gen and ORIEN, patient de-identified information generated through the ORIEN Avatar Research Program will be provided to the pharmaceutical partners when searching for eligible individuals to participate in biomarker driven clinical trials. Patients identified will have access to groundbreaking therapies in development that are most suited for their specific type of cancer and the unique molecular features of their disease.
This innovative collaboration creates a pre-competitive space for pharmaceutical companies and prominent cancer centers nationwide that will benefit all participants involved: patients gain access to new trials and investigational treatments, pharmaceutical companies are provided with unique data analytics to assist them in the development of treatments through this targeted data access approach, and cancer centers can share data to accelerate discovery and expand the clinical trial options for patients while providing critical research in the overarching mission to better understand, treat and ultimately cure cancer.
The ORIEN Avatar program is constructed as a subscription service for partners so that it can scale to include any number of leading companies in the industry.
"Together, we are creating a unique resource by partnering with multiple stakeholders including patients who consent to be followed throughout their lifetime so that we can ultimately provide patients with more options with unequalled precision," said William S. Dalton, M.D., Ph.D., founder and CEO of M2Gen, and founding director of Moffitt Cancer Center's DeBartolo Family Personalized Medicine Institute, which created the TCC Protocol and database. "The ORIEN Avatar Research Program represents a collaborative space within the healthcare community to drive new discoveries and shorten clinical development timelines by proactively matching patients to trials. This means we are able to identify the most in-need, underserved patients, anticipate their needs, and match them to cutting-edge trials. The result: more options for patients, and a more effective means to drive the development of life-saving treatments."
"The ORIEN Avatar program is a standout in its approach to patient information gathering and sharing to form a more efficient system," said Michael Pehl, president Hematology & Oncology of Celgene. "This wealth of clinical and molecular data will potentially lead to a better understanding of molecular properties that are involved in a patient's disease and what treatment designs might be most successful in battling their cancer. Building this resource in a multi-partner collaboration creates a wealth of data, which will potentially lead to better outcomes for patients."
The ORIEN Avatar Research Program will focus on patients with advanced primary or metastatic disease, those with limited treatment options, as well as patients who are likely to develop progressive disease, and will capitalize on the disease-area expertise of ORIEN's research scientists.
The ORIEN Avatar program helps to solve a systemic challenge in pharmaceutical research and development by dramatically increasing the patient population that can be screened for clinical trials. Data show the cost of bringing a drug to market averages $2.6 billion, with an average of 10-15 years' time to bring said drug to market. With such large investments in time and capital, many research projects are shelved if they cannot identify a large enough patient sample size for a trial.
"The ORIEN Avatar program will use an in-silico analysis approach to better design clinical trials and match patients to promising clinical trials to achieve their accrual targets so that new and improved treatments can be brought to market more rapidly, and help millions of patients worldwide," Dalton added.
"For far too long, cancer research and treatment have been hampered by an industry standard of individualism. We founded ORIEN in 2014 with the intent to break the mold and usher in a new culture of cooperation and collaboration in healthcare," said Mike Caligiuri, CEO of the James Cancer Center at the Ohio State University, which co-founded ORIEN with Moffitt Cancer Center. "With the data and information provided by the ORIEN Avatar Program, and support from industry leaders such as Celgene, we stand poised to make the promise of the next generation of cancer treatments a reality."