From North Carolina to Norway

The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences and Oslo Cancer Cluster announce oncology-based partnership

Lori Lesko
RALEIGH, N.C.—Targeted toward streamlining the search fornew cancer treatments while strengthening its translational research andbusiness development arms, the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences atResearch Triangle Park has forged a one-of-a-kind partnership with the OsloCancer Cluster (OCC) in Norway.
 
 
A formal memorandum of understanding, signed Feb. 20, led tothe expansion of Hamner's Global Biosciences Gateway, enabling companies andcomprehensive cancer centers to speed up development of new cancer therapies,while creating an infrastructure in North Carolina and Oslo for drug discovery,high-quality oncology clinical trials and access to drug safety and regulatoryexperts to satisfy the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the EuropeanMedicines Agency and eventually the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration.
 
"This is the first time such an ambitious collaboration hasbeen undertaken in the field of translational oncology," says Bjarte Reve, CEOof the OCC, known for its biobanks and extensive patient registries, which aimto accelerate of translational cancer research. "We passionately believe thatthis partnership … will enable companies and comprehensive cancer centers tospeed development of new cancer therapies through global partnerships. Over thelast few years, we have already taken great strides in Europe to bring togethersuch clusters, with concrete results, such as a Phase I network and jointEU-IMI submissions. This partnership with The Hamner is a logical next step toforge stronger links with the United States and also to complement our existinginitiatives in China."
 
 
The collaboration is "equally beneficial," Reve adds. Hamnerwill act as a bioscience gateway and hub to the United States for OCC membersand collaborators in China, while OCC will act as a similar gateway and hub toEurope, he said.
 
"Both Hamner and OCC have been identified by China aspartners," Reve says. "In Europe, OCC has created the OCC European Cancernetwork, whose members include Lund, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark; Heidelberg,Germany; Toulouse, France and Barcelona, Spain."
 
 
Rick Williams, chief business officer at Hamner, anon-profit research organization located in Research Triangle Park, agrees withhis Norwegian counterpart.
 
 
"This is a mutually beneficial partnership that helps theHamner and the OCC to develop stronger global programs in translationalresearch, education/training and business partnering," Williams says.
 
 
Hamner will provide the Oslo company access to a widenetwork of research collaborators, including three comprehensive cancer centersin North Carolina, the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and TianjinInstitute for Hematology, he said.
Recently, Hamner signed an agreement with China Medical Cityfor international drug development. The China Medical City is a new, 66,000square-foot life science park dedicated to biotech, pharmaceutical and medicalinnovation located in the Yangtze River Delta north of Shanghai, with 150,000employees. The agreement with Hamner gives the OCC access to the facilities inChina Medical City.
 
 
North Carolina's "biotech ecosystem" contains experts andresources for the successful development and commercialization of newoncology-related businesses that are being developed in Norway, Williams says.Hamner and its partners in the United States and China will be able to accessthe OCC, as well as a network of premier cancer centers in Europe.
 
"Leaders from Hamner and the Oslo Cancer Cluster have beenexploring opportunities to work together for the past three years," Williamssays. "The recently signed memorandum of understanding is the first step informing a long-term partnership that is being extended to the U.S., Europe andAsia."
 
Hamner's senior managers, in conjunction with their NorthCarolina partners, will help the OCC screen potential partners and establishrelationships with academic collaborators, clients, investors, nonprofitorganizations, etc., Williams says.
 
The partnership gives each company a globalnetwork of potential business partners in the field of fighting cancer.
 
William Greenlee, CEO of Hamner, says, "the ability we nowhave to identify and capture cutting-edge cancer research in Europe and Chinawill not only benefit patients, but also will be an important driver forbusiness and economic development in our respective countries."
 

Lori Lesko

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