A North-South partnership

MD Anderson pairs up with Boston Strategics for cancer drug development

Kelsey Kaustinen
BOSTON—The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center andBoston Strategics Corp., an integrated drug research and development company,have signed a strategic partnership in support of oncology drug development bymaking use of both partners' assets and expertise in cancer research anddevelopment. Per the agreement, Boston Strategics will optimize and undertakeglobal drug development for its pharmaceutical and biotechnology clientsthrough the use of its "True Open Innovation" network, in partnership with MDAnderson. No financial details for this partnership were released.
 
 
"MD Anderson is keen on collaborating with partners willingto establish long-term commitments to the institution," Ferran Prat, vicepresident for strategic industry ventures at MD Anderson, said in a pressrelease. "We believe in the power of industry and academia coming together, andcoming up with solutions to enhance efficiencies and achieve faster developmenttimes. This partnership allows the organizations to work closely in acollaborative fashion to reach those goals."
 
 
MD Anderson brings with it translational and clinicaloncology development experience and resources, and a track record as a leaderin the field. In July, MD Anderson was named as the nation's top hospital forcancer care in U.S. News & WorldReport's annual "Best Hospitals" survey for the seventh year in a row. Theinstitution has been named as being number one in cancer care 10 times in thelast 12 years. In 2012, some 8,500 patients at MD Anderson were registered inclinical trials evaluating new treatments, "making it home to the largestclinical trials program for cancer in the nation," according to an MD Andersonpress release. Boston Strategics notes on its website that MD Anderson'sDepartment of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics "is a centralized resourcefor patients, physicians and scientists looking for new experimental therapiesthat provide potential new advances in cancer research and treatment. It is thelargest program of its kind in the world, and has a track record of expeditingthe development of new cancer drugs through early-phase clinical trials."
 
 
The organization also boasts the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed AlNahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy, which was funded by a $150million grant in 2011. This focused research center supports "preclinicalresearch and clinical trials in which a patient's tumor biopsy is assayed forabnormal genes and gene products to select therapy with agents targeting theproduct of those particular abnormal genes." The Institute for PersonalizedCancer Therapy will enable Boston Strategics to fine-tune its cancer therapiesfor its various patient populations. 
 
Boston Strategics' "True Open Innovation" business modeldraws on its core team of experts while also bringing forward externalexpertise in necessary areas. This approach, the company notes on its website,overcomes the limitations of the current drug development model by "reducingthe need for large infrastructure, and draws on additional critical drugdevelopment expertise based on the unique needs of a particular program."Boston Strategics' Global Network brings to the table global biologic and drugdevelopment expertise, with experience in small- and large-moleculedevelopment, and biologics—including antibodies, recombinant proteins, genetherapies and combination products—in solid tumors and hematologicmalignancies.
 
"By combining the strengths of the MD Anderson Cancer Centerwith the oncology drug development expertise and true open innovation networkof Boston Strategics, we are creating a new, efficient, streamlined model forglobal oncology clinical development," Eita Kitayama, president of BostonStrategics, commented in a statement regarding the strategic partnership. "Thisis an innovative and unique collaboration that will translate thehighest-quality science into proven clinical success in an efficient and agilemanner, while enhancing the competitive position of our Pharma and Biotech clientsin the ever-increasing challenging environment of clinical drug development."
 
 
Ultimately, the partners hope to bring new therapeuticapproaches to patients more rapidly and with better management of investment,so that Boston Strategics can provide its partners, locally and globally, witha rapid, efficient approach to compound development.
 
 
 

Kelsey Kaustinen

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