Translating a pilot into a full collaboration

Molecular Response and OncoMed sign collaboration deal that expands existing relationship in translational oncology

Jeffrey Bouley
SAN DIEGO—Molecular Response and Redwood City, Calif.-basedOncoMed Pharmaceuticals Inc. already had what they considered a successfulpilot program to develop unique patient-derived tumor xenografts (PDX) throughthe use of Molecular Response's proprietary cell bank of primary tumorcells—but late February saw the two companies announce a new agreement toexpand this relationship.
 
Under the terms of the agreement, the collaboration willdeliver molecularly characterized PDX models for multiple cancer indications,with full utilization of Molecular Response's highly optimized pre-screeningand characterization methodologies. Financial terms of the collaboration werenot disclosed.
 
 
According to OncoMed, the relationship began near the end of2010, when Molecular Response approached OncoMed to discuss their potentialcapabilities for identifying predictive markers of therapeutic response. Inmid-2011, the companies decided to perform a pilot study in which OncoMedsuccessfully developed patient-derived tumor xenografts from a subset ofMolecular Response's bank of cryopreserved tumor cells.
 
Communicating via email, Dr. Ann Kapoun, OncoMed's vicepresident of translational medicine, tells ddn that "OncoMed's expertise in developing and characterizing PDX modelscoupled with Molecular Response's vast collection of viable patient-derivedcryopreserved human tumor cells will allow the collaboration to be highlyproductive for both companies."
 
 
"The alliance provides an opportunity for OncoMed to expandtheir already extensive bank of proprietary xenograft models derived fromfreshly resected human cancers based on the molecular profile of the tumors aswell as complement OncoMed's existing biomarker and patient selection efforts,"Kapoun continues. "This is important for OncoMed because a strategic focus forthe company is to develop therapeutic antibodies and to target their clinicaluse in the subsets of patients most likely to benefit. The priority is todevelop focused clinical plans, which include patient selection strategies atearly stages of clinical testing."
 
 
As OncoMed CEO Paul Hastings noted in the news release aboutthe deal, "The expansion of our tumor bank in this selective manner willenhance our efforts of developing predictive biomarkers alongside the developmentof our anti-cancer stem cell therapeutics."
 
 
"Development of characterized PDX models is a naturaladdition to our core competencies in working with patient-derived primary tumorcells. OncoMed is a leader in cancer stem cell therapeutics and a mostdiscerning partner in evaluation of new PDX models," said Cyrus K. Mirsaidi,CEO of Molecular Response, in the news release. "The expanded collaborationwith OncoMed is proof of our success and continued commitment to enable furtherevaluation of cancer therapeutics in better characterized models with use ofour high-content, cell-based platforms and exclusive patient-derived primarytumor cell bank."
 
OncoMed is a privately held clinical development-stagebiopharmaceutical company developing therapeutics that target the biologicpathways critical to tumor-initiating cells, also known as cancer stem cells.OncoMed has advanced three anti-cancer stem cell monoclonal antibodies into theclinic: OMP-21M18, OMP-59R5 and OMP-18R5. All three of them target key cancerstem cell signaling pathways, including Notch and Wnt. In addition, OncoMed'spipeline includes several novel preclinical product candidates targetingmultiple validated cancer stem cell pathways. OncoMed has formed strategicalliances with Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline.
 
Molecular Response is a privately held molecular diagnosticservices company that calls itself "a leader in the identification of targetpopulations for high-value therapeutics," doing so through "intelligentlydesigned, clinically validated companion diagnostics."
 
 
The company's stated goal is to reduce risk and cost oftherapeutic drug development for its partners by translating clinicallyrelevant molecular response marker data into high-value knowledge while fullyintegrated into existing pharmaceutical development processes and programs, allto allow for reduced risk and costs in drug development and allow for the mostinformed decisions with best chance of success for advancing therapeuticprograms.

Jeffrey Bouley

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