Boehringer Ingelheim and MD Anderson form unique Virtual Research and Development Center to rapidly advance new cancer therapies

Boehringer IngelheimBoehringer Ingelheim and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center announced a new multi-year partnership to conduct collaborative research to rapidly advance therapies for various types of cancers, including gastrointestinal and lung cancers. The establishment of a joint Virtual Research and Development Center will enable effective data sharing and analysis between the organizations.

The partnership is built on a flexible framework, allowing for projects to enter at different stages (research, development and/or clinical stage) over several years. It further combines the unique patient-driven drug-development capabilities of MD Anderson’s Therapeutics Discovery division (link is external) with the innovative pipeline of novel medicines from Boehringer Ingelheim.

MD Anderson's Therapeutics Discovery division is a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and researchers focused on advancing the next generation of cancer therapies. As part of the division, the TRACTION (link is external) (Translational Research to Advance Therapeutics and Innovation in Oncology) platform conducts cutting-edge translational research to better understand how new medicines work and which patients will see most benefit.

"We could not have chosen a better partner with all its research, translational and clinical expertise in lung and gastrointestinal cancers. Together, we hope to transform the treatment landscape for these diseases by tackling their root causes and drivers, that have so far remained elusive, exploring new and smart ways of killing cancer cells," said Dr Victoria Zazulina, Corporate Vice President and Global Head of Oncology, Medicine, at Boehringer Ingelheim. "Our innovative oncology pipeline coupled with strong partnerships like this will contribute to unravelling the complexities of these diseases and bringing innovative solutions to people with various types of cancers."

The Virtual Research and Development Center will focus on the development of potential new treatments including:

  • KRAS inhibition concepts, as mutations in the KRAS gene are common in various cancers, specifically in certain types of lung and gastrointestinal cancers.
  • a TRAILR2 agonistic antibody, with the potential to selectively induce cancer cell death (apoptosis).

"Within MD Anderson, we are committed to a singular goal of ending cancer," said Tim Heffernan, Ph.D., executive director of TRACTION at MD Anderson. "We look forward to working with Boehringer Ingelheim to advance their innovative pipeline of cancer medicines. Our Therapeutics Discovery team is well-poised to conduct impactful translational research, and this partnership will allow us to more rapidly advance much-needed new therapies to patients."

More than 4.1 million people die from gastrointestinal and lung cancers every year worldwide(1), indicating an urgent need for new treatment approaches. Gastrointestinal cancers represent a heterogeneous complex array of diseases, and include oesophageal (throat), gastric (stomach), liver, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers. In 2018, lung cancer caused more than 1.7 million deaths(1). There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Intended audiences

This press release is issued from our Corporate Headquarters in Ingelheim, Germany and is intended to provide information about our global business. Please be aware that information relating to the approval status and labels of approved products may vary from country to country, and a country-specific press release on this topic may have been issued in the countries where we do business.

About MD Anderson

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. The institution's sole mission is to end cancer for patients and their families around the world. MD Anderson is one of only 50 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). MD Anderson is ranked No.1 for cancer care in U.S. News & World Report's "Best Hospitals" survey. It has ranked as one of the nation’s top two hospitals for cancer care since the survey began in 1990, and has ranked first 15 times in the last 18 years. MD Anderson receives a cancer center support grant from the NCI of the National Institutes of Health (P30 CA016672).

About Boehringer Ingelheim in Oncology

Cancer takes. Takes away time. Takes away loved ones. At Boehringer Ingelheim Oncology, we are giving patients new hope, by taking cancer on. We are dedicated to collaborating with the oncology community on a shared journey to deliver leading science. Our primary focus is in lung and gastrointestinal cancers, with the goal of delivering breakthrough, first-in-class treatments that can help win the fight against cancer. Our commitment to innovation has resulted in pioneering treatments for lung cancer and we are advancing a unique pipeline of cancer cell directed agents, immune oncology therapies and intelligent combination approaches to help combat many cancers.

About Boehringer Ingelheim

Improving the health of humans and animals is the goal of the research-driven pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. The focus in doing so is on diseases for which no satisfactory treatment option exists to date. The company therefore concentrates on developing innovative therapies that can extend patients’ lives. In animal health, Boehringer Ingelheim stands for advanced prevention.

Family-owned since it was established in 1885, Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the pharmaceutical industry’s top 20 companies. Some 50,000 employees create value through innovation daily for the three business areas human pharmaceuticals, animal health and biopharmaceuticals. In 2018, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of around 17.5 billion euros. R&D expenditure of almost 3.2 billion euros, corresponded to 18.1 per cent of net sales.

As a family-owned company, Boehringer Ingelheim plans in generations and focuses on long-term success. The company therefore aims at organic growth from its own resources with simultaneous openness to partnerships and strategic alliances in research. In everything it does, Boehringer Ingelheim naturally adopts responsibility towards mankind and the environment.

1. World Health Organisation. Cancer Factsheet. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer [Last accessed May 2019]

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