NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The Yale School of Medicine and Gilead Sciences Inc. have extended their research collaboration by three years, continuing the partnership that began in March 2011. In the initial agreement, the organizations established a multi-year research collaboration to discover novel cancer therapies, with a multi-disciplinary research program to identify the genetic basis and molecular mechanisms of multiple forms of cancer. The deal had an initial duration of four years and an option to renew for up to 10 years. Gilead agreed to provide $40 million in research support and basic science infrastructure development for the initial four years and a total of up to $100 million over 10 years if the deal is extended through that maximum timeframe. The initial agreement also granted Gilead the option to license Yale inventions resulting from the collaboration.
Under this renewal, Gilead will provide $30 million in additional funding for research support, and will receive the first option to license resulting Yale inventions. The organizations will continue seeking out new molecular targets that could lead to the development of novel targeted therapies, including therapies capable of overcoming drug resistance.
“Gilead is pleased to be continuing this important collaboration with Yale,” said William Lee, Ph.D., senior vice president of research at Gilead. “Significant progress has been made in this first phase of our research partnership, and we will continue to work closely with the team from Yale in an effort to identify novel cancer therapies with the potential to help patients.”
Research projects for this collaboration are selected by a joint steering committee headed by Joseph Schlessinger, Ph.D., the William H. Prusoff Professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology and director of the Cancer Biology Institute at Yale West Campus. Yale's science team also includes Roy Herbst, M.D., Ph.D., the Ensign Professor of Medicine (medical oncology), professor of pharmacology, and chief of medical oncology for the Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven; and Richard Lifton, M.D., Ph.D., Sterling Professor and chair of the Department of Genetics and head of The Yale Center for Genome Analysis at Yale West Campus.
So far, the Yale and Gilead teams have sequenced thousands of genes from a variety of cancer types in projects as part of this agreement, with analyses revealing a number of recurring mutations. Yale has also begun biochemical and pharmacological studies that seek compounds that could lead to therapeutic candidates for certain cancers, with promising results that will be expanded upon in this extended phase of the collaboration. As the partnership continues, there will be increased focus on identifying one therapy with potential applicability in multiple cancers.
“We could not have asked for a better start to our partnership with Gilead. We have achieved remarkable progress through our unique collaboration, in which both the Yale and Gilead groups have a common goal of finding novel cancer therapies,” Schlessinger said. “The pace of scientific exchange and innovation spurred by our work together is unlike anything I have seen before. If our accomplishments over the past three years are any indication, we are confident that our future endeavors will significantly advance our current understanding and treatment of cancer.”