AstraZeneca and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have announced a multi-year, strategic research collaboration to conduct multiple, parallel clinical and clinically-related studies in ovarian and other gynecologic cancers with the aim of improving patient outcomes.
The agreement represents a unique approach to research by focusing not just on clinical trials using investigational therapies to gain profound insights and information, but also epidemiological and outcomes studies. Through this approach, AstraZeneca and MD Anderson aim to re-think how industry and academia can collaborate in deeper and broader ways to help expedite the development of treatments for women with high unmet medical needs.
The data collected from these studies is anticipated to inform the development and utility of existing and future therapies. MD Anderson scientists will have access to AstraZeneca therapeutic agents and developmental compounds, and studies will be determined by the collaboration at a later date.
The collaboration will draw on the experience of MD Anderson's Moon Shots Program, which aims to accelerate the conversion of scientific discoveries into clinical advances and significantly reduce cancer deaths. The effort also leverages resources such as MD Anderson's Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy (IPCT) and novel agents from AstraZeneca.
"Ovarian and other gynaecologic cancers remain areas of high unmet need," said Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., chair of systems biology, division of cancer medicine at MD Anderson. Mills is co-leader of MD Anderson's Breast and Ovarian Cancer Moon Shot and co-director of the IPCT.
"Collaborations that examine new agents and explore disease epidemiology and outcomes have the potential to inform the development of novel and combination treatments, and MD Anderson has the ability and expertise required to provide data-rich, rapid trials to inform this combination strategy," said Mills.
Oncology is a core growth platform for AstraZeneca, and the company is aiming to bring six new cancer medicines to patients by 2020. AstraZeneca's broad pipeline of oncology investigational drugs is focused on four main disease areas—breast, ovarian, lung and hematological cancers. These are being targeted through four key platforms—immunotherapy, the genetic drivers of cancer and resistance, DNA damage repair and antibody drug conjugates (ADCs).