The newly installed acting secretary of health and human services, Eric Hargan, attended the event alongside Collins, a slate of pharmaceutical executives, and Dr. Douglas Lowy, the National Cancer Institute’s acting director.
New immunotherapies have resulted in dramatic responses in certain cancer cases.
Collins said the group will work to explain why cancer immunotherapies, which have transformed treatment for melanoma, leukemia and some other cancers, do not work for more patients. “A systematic approach like PACT will help us to achieve success faster”.
It is the second major public-private collaboration announced by the NIH in the last month.
Among other efforts, the partnership will also help facilitate information sharing to help decrease duplicative research, increase coordination and more.
The companies participating include AbbVie, Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene Corporation, Genentech, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen of Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and Pfizer.
Additional support has been provided by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA).
Each of the 11 biopharmaceutical companies will contribute as much as $1 million every year for five years through NIH’s nonprofit charity foundation.
A who’s who of cancer drug R&D companies have banded together to help fund a $215 million drive at the NIH to explore relevant biomarkers that can help focus immunotherapies on the right patient population while cutting the amount of time it takes to drive better studies through the clinic.
NIH’s National Cancer Institute recently awarded cooperative agreements to support four Cancer Immune Monitoring and Analysis Centers and a Cancer Immunologic Data Commons with a total of $53.6 million in funding over five years. The clinical trials, to be conducted at medical research institutions across the USA and Canada, will test combinations of drugs from rival companies with a goal of expanding the number of patients who respond to immunotherapy.
Researchers at the CIMACs will perform deep tumor and immune profiling.
The NCI cooperative agreements have been awarded to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Stanford Cancer Institute, Precision Immunology Institute and the Tisch Cancer Institute at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.