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Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and Cancer Research Institute Announce New Collaboration in Cancer Immunotherapy

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) announced today that FNIH has selected CRI to be its source of landscape intelligence in immuno-oncology, also called cancer immunotherapy. This collaboration draws on CRI’s 65 years of leadership in cancer immunotherapy and its first-in-class immunotherapy landscape analyses produced by members of the Anna-Maria Kellen Clinical Accelerator program at CRI.

With the unprecedented progress of cancer immunotherapy in clinical settings, many treatment paradigms in various cancer types are being rewritten, evidenced by more than 40 FDA approvals of cancer immunotherapies since 2011. This explosion of clinical innovation brings great excitement but also many challenges to effectively harness the enthusiasm in the field. To harmonize efforts and avoid duplication, FNIH has recently launched the public-private Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies (PACT) to identify, develop, and validate biomarkers with the aim of advancing new cancer immunotherapies. FNIH also has been testing novel cancer immunotherapies in a master protocol-based clinical trial—Lung-MAP—and would use data and analyses from CRI to identify potential trials for PACT and immunotherapy combinations suitable for testing in Lung-MAP.

CRI’s Clinical Accelerator provides a unique nonprofit-academic-industry partnership platform that allows innovative combination cancer immunotherapies to be tested in multi-center, proof-of-concept clinical trials, including nine ongoing trials. In addition, the Clinical Accelerator team has built a first-in-class clinical cancer immunotherapy database that has enabled insightful analyses on the landscape of the field.

“We felt the high-quality, neutral, and scientifically curated analyses from the longest-operating cancer immunotherapy nonprofit would greatly enhance our ability to provide strategic guidance to our immunotherapy-related project teams,” said Stacey Adam, Ph.D., director for cancer research partnerships from FNIH. “CRI is a distinguished nonprofit organization within the cancer immunology field with a track record of successful partnerships, making us confident in the success of our collaboration.”

“Our cancer immunotherapy intelligence is built on decades-long relationships with the leading physicians, scientists, and academic research centers in cancer immunotherapy,” noted Vanessa Lucey, Ph.D., MBA, director of the CRI Venture Fund and Clinical Accelerator. “The quality of our intelligence has been recognized by leading academic journals as well as our clinical partners,” she added.

“The most exciting part is the shared vision between FNIH and CRI, as we both believe the cancer immunotherapy field can accelerate delivery of clinical benefits to patients by working more efficiently together, and by bringing government, academics, industry, patient advocates, and nonprofits to the same table,” said Dr. Adam.

“In this sense, the collaboration of FNIH and CRI is natural and organic, and we believe this will generate synergy between two great nonprofit organizations,” said Dr. Lucey.

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