NIH set up a partnership with 11 top biopharmaceutical companies

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The National Institutes of Health, primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and public health research, and 11 leading biopharmaceutical companies today launched the Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies (PACT), a five-year public-private research collaboration totaling $215 million as part of the Cancer Moonshot. 

PACT will initially focus on efforts to identify, develop and validate robust biomarkers — standardized biological markers of disease and treatment response — to advance new immunotherapy treatments that harness the immune system to attack cancer. The partnership will be managed by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), with the Food and Drug Administration serving in an advisory role.

New immunotherapies have resulted in dramatic responses in certain cancer cases. They have also been the focus of intense investment by biopharmaceutical companies seeking to provide new options for patients who do not respond to other cancer therapies, but they don’t work for all patients.  Development and standardization of biomarkers to understand how immunotherapies work in some patients, and predict their response to treatment, are urgently needed for these therapies to provide benefit to the maximum number of people.

PACT will facilitate systematic and uniform clinical testing of biomarkers to advance our understanding of the mechanisms of response and resistance to cancer therapy.  The research conducted under the partnership will also integrate immune and other related oncology biomarkers into clinical trials by defining a set of standardized biomarkers to be tested across a variety of studies. This approach will allow for consistent generation of data, uniform and harmonized assays to support data reproducibility, comparability of data across trials, and discovery and validation of new biomarkers for immunotherapy and related combinations.  PACT will also facilitate information sharing by all stakeholders to better coordinate clinical efforts, align investigative approaches, reduce duplication and enable more high-quality trials to be conducted.

PACT partners include AbbVie, Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene Corporation, Genentech (a member of the Roche Group), Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline plc, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research and Pfizer, Inc..

Additional support has been provided by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA). The 11 partner organizations will contribute up to $1 million per year for five years through the FNIH for a total private sector contribution of $55 million. NIH will contribute $160 million over the five years of the partnership, pending availability of funds.

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