A North-South partnership
September 2013
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author


BOSTON—The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Boston Strategics Corp., an integrated drug research and development company, have signed a strategic partnership in support of oncology drug development by making use of both partners' assets and expertise in cancer research and development. Per the agreement, Boston Strategics will optimize and undertake global drug development for its pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients through the use of its "True Open Innovation" network, in partnership with MD Anderson. No financial details for this partnership were released.  
"MD Anderson is keen on collaborating with partners willing to establish long-term commitments to the institution," Ferran Prat, vice president for strategic industry ventures at MD Anderson, said in a press release. "We believe in the power of industry and academia coming together, and coming up with solutions to enhance efficiencies and achieve faster development times. This partnership allows the organizations to work closely in a collaborative fashion to reach those goals."  
MD Anderson brings with it translational and clinical oncology development experience and resources, and a track record as a leader in the field. In July, MD Anderson was named as the nation's top hospital for cancer care in U.S. News & World Report's annual "Best Hospitals" survey for the seventh year in a row. The institution has been named as being number one in cancer care 10 times in the last 12 years. In 2012, some 8,500 patients at MD Anderson were registered in clinical trials evaluating new treatments, "making it home to the largest clinical trials program for cancer in the nation," according to an MD Anderson press release. Boston Strategics notes on its website that MD Anderson's Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics "is a centralized resource for patients, physicians and scientists looking for new experimental therapies that provide potential new advances in cancer research and treatment. It is the largest program of its kind in the world, and has a track record of expediting the development of new cancer drugs through early-phase clinical trials."  
The organization also boasts the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy, which was funded by a $150 million grant in 2011. This focused research center supports "preclinical research and clinical trials in which a patient's tumor biopsy is assayed for abnormal genes and gene products to select therapy with agents targeting the product of those particular abnormal genes." The Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy will enable Boston Strategics to fine-tune its cancer therapies for its various patient populations.
Boston Strategics' "True Open Innovation" business model draws on its core team of experts while also bringing forward external expertise in necessary areas. This approach, the company notes on its website, overcomes the limitations of the current drug development model by "reducing the need for large infrastructure, and draws on additional critical drug development expertise based on the unique needs of a particular program." Boston Strategics' Global Network brings to the table global biologic and drug development expertise, with experience in small- and large-molecule development, and biologics—including antibodies, recombinant proteins, gene therapies and combination products—in solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.
"By combining the strengths of the MD Anderson Cancer Center with the oncology drug development expertise and true open innovation network of Boston Strategics, we are creating a new, efficient, streamlined model for global oncology clinical development," Eita Kitayama, president of Boston Strategics, commented in a statement regarding the strategic partnership. "This is an innovative and unique collaboration that will translate the highest-quality science into proven clinical success in an efficient and agile manner, while enhancing the competitive position of our Pharma and Biotech clients in the ever-increasing challenging environment of clinical drug development."  
Ultimately, the partners hope to bring new therapeutic approaches to patients more rapidly and with better management of investment, so that Boston Strategics can provide its partners, locally and globally, with a rapid, efficient approach to compound development.  
Code: E091324

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