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Open access research partnership to 'crowdsource' new myeloma drugs

Published on 27/01/16 at 04:45pm
Eric Low
Myeloam UK chief exec Eric Low says openly sharing early research can speed up R&D

Myeloma UK and the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) have entered into an open-access research partnership to find new drug targets for myeloma using structural biology and chemical proteomics.

The aim is to make the products of the research collaboration – potential new drug targets – available to other researchers, patent-free and open access. The SGC is a public-private partnership that supports the discovery of new medicines through open access research.

In this first partnership of its kind in Europe, Myeloma UK and the SGC have explicitly agreed not to file for patents on any of the collaborative research, and to make all reagents and knowledge available without restriction to the wider research community. This includes pharmaceutical, biotech, and academic research groups.

The SGC and Myeloma UK will make any research tools developed freely available to the research community immediately and without restriction. Since no patent protection will be taken on any of the results of this collaboration, any investigator in the world will have complete freedom to use the data to advance science and the discovery of new medicines.

As part of the collaboration, Myeloma UK will support scientists at the SGC to generate biology data and open access research tools to explore potential drug targets, as well as link Myeloma UK clinical and pre-clinical experts into the SGC’s open access network. This project reinforces the early-stage component of the Myeloma UK research pipeline, which extends into Phase IIb clinical trials.

Myeloma UK chief executive Eric Low says: “We are absolutely driven by our desire to enable discoveries that will put in place innovative routes to significantly improve outcomes in myeloma and ultimately find a cure – but we want to do it faster and more efficiently than ever before. Our entire business model at Myeloma UK is designed to accelerate the research that is most likely to result in patient benefit.

“We understand that the one important way to do so is through openly sharing early stage discoveries so we can crowdsource the best minds and the best research resources in the world for this mission - a model championed and efficiently proven by the Structural Genomics Consortium. We are also fully aware that by sharing our data and tools we can help and learn from diseases and this is how we will, together, speed up the rate of progress towards more effective treatments for myeloma patients.”

“We applaud Myeloma UK’s strategic decision to enforce unrestricted sharing of research tools and results which will surely accelerate the understanding of underlying disease biology”, says Aled Edwards, chief executive of the SGC. “By combining Myeloma UK’s own data with the outputs from our other genetic studies supported by Genome Canada, Wellcome Trust and EU’s Innovative Medicines Initiatives, we hope to identify and enable discovery of novel targets for multiple myeloma.”

The charity is also working with the pharma company Takeda and NICE scientific advice, to run a Phase II study of Ninlaro (ixazomib) in relapsed and/or refractory myeloma patients.

Lilian Anekwe

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