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GSK launches cancer ‘consortium’

Published on 06/12/13 at 11:07am
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GlaxoSmithKline has formed a consortium of cancer research organisations in North America and Europe in a bid to accelerate the discovery of new treatments.

The Oncology Clinical and Translational Consortium (OCTC) will be a collaborative scientific network made up of six research centres. 

“Each OCTC member institution is recognised internationally as a leader in clinical and translational research,” said Rafael Amado, oncology R&D head at GlaxoSmithKline.  

“The consortium together with GSK will design and execute research programmes in a focussed and expeditious way, allowing us to potentially develop new diagnostic tools and medicines to better treat cancer patients,” he explained.

What GSK gets out of the deal is OCTC’s expertise in pre-clinical, translational and clinical development of novel anticancer therapeutics including kinase inhibitors, epigenome modulating compounds and immunotherapies.

The attraction here is that these are the very areas which GSK has identified as the focus for its own cancer research drug discovery activities.

The company will make available studies on its early-stage oncology pipeline in a move expected to foster scientific collaboration among the members - in the US, Canada, France, Spain and the Netherlands - and with GSK.

The consortium will share ideas on processes to ensure quality standards for the collection of biological samples, as well as on how biomarker and clinical research is conducted. 

GSK has identified this spirit of openness as one way of speeding up research in other areas, launching its dedicated ‘open lab’ research facility in Tres Cantos, Madrid, more than three years ago to look into treatments for neglected tropical diseases.

The company’s data has been made available there for external researchers - 27 of them so far - to put into their own projects to identify prospective compounds alongside GSK’s scientists and taking advantage of the company’s facilities and pharma expertise.

GSK says that OCTC projects are set to include Phase I/II single agent and novel combination trials with the manufacturer’s targeted and immune therapies, as well as translational and pre-clinical studies.

The six OCTC centres are:

  • Gustave Roussy (Villejuif, France)
  • University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, US)
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, US)
  • Netherlands Cancer Institute (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
  • Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network (Toronto, Canada)
  • Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology - VHIO (Barcelona, Spain). 

Adam Hill

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