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PRESS RELEASE: BCRF Announces Expansion of the Drug Research Collaborative

By BCRF | January 30, 2018

Researchers aim to better understand potential treatment pathways for breast cancer patients

NEW YORK, NY – FEB 2, 2018– Ahead of World Cancer Day, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) announced a new, independent research project funded by grants from Astellas and Pfizer to advance understanding of the role of the androgen receptor in breast cancer. This will be part of BCRF’s previously established Drug Research Collaborative. Astellas and Pfizer are committing a total of $10 million in support. 

As part of this project, Astellas and Pfizer are supporting this new grant funding model aimed at bridging the knowledge gap between academia and new drug development.

“By fostering collaboration between industry and academic scientists and clinical investigators, BCRF’s Drug Research Collaborative is successfully bringing together leaders from both communities to help advance clinical trials for new, innovative and effective treatment options for breast cancer patients.” said Larry Norton, MD, BCRF Scientific Director and Medical Director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “This partnership is aimed at helping patients by exploring new treatment options and accelerating scientific and medical progress.”

The support from Astellas and Pfizer will enable both preclinical and clinical independent research of the companies’ androgen-receptor (AR) inhibitor in breast cancer. The drug is jointly developed by both companies. Last year, BCRF convened leading breast cancer experts from around the world for a Think Tank discussion of androgen receptors. Further clinical investigation could improve the understanding of the role of AR-inhibition in breast cancer.

“We are thrilled to build on our support of the Drug Research Collaborative, which over the last two years has broken new ground in academic-industry collaboration and produced nine promising research projects investigating Pfizer Oncology medicines,” said Charles Hugh-Jones, chief medical officer, Pfizer Oncology.  “Expanding the program with our partner, Astellas, will enable some of the brightest minds in academia to explore the potential of AR-inhibition in breast cancer. Our shared goal is that this will help speed breakthroughs to benefit patients.”

“We applaud this innovative model which enables leading academic researchers from around the world to continue to expand the body of knowledge in breast cancer research,” said Karin Blakolmer, MD, MBA, vice president and therapeutic area head, Oncology Medical Affairs, Astellas. “This unique collaboration underscores our ongoing commitment to address the unmet medical needs of patients and advance the treatment paradigm in cancer.”

As part of the Drug Research Collaborative, an expert review panel comprised of leading breast cancer researchers across the country will be convened by BCRF to help select the final projects, which are expected to begin in late 2018. The urgency for new treatments is felt by the 155,000 women and men living with metastatic breast cancer.

The Drug Research Collaborative was first launched in 2016 and initially funded with a $15 million commitment from Pfizer along with newly available access to Pfizer’s broad portfolio of approved products and its pipeline of oncology drugs still under development. Nine projects are already underway, and as other organizations join the Collaborative, BCRF continues the pursuit of accelerating clinical research on treatment strategies for people with breast cancer.

About BCRF

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) is dedicated to being the end of breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research. Founded by Evelyn H. Lauder in 1993, BCRF-funded investigators have been deeply involved in every major breakthrough in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. This year, BCRF will award $59.5 million to support the work of more than 275 scientists at leading medical and academic institutions across 15 countries, making BCRF the largest private funder of breast cancer research worldwide. BCRF is the highest rated breast cancer organization in the U.S.—the only one with an “A+” from CharityWatch and Charity Navigator’s highest rating of four stars. Visit to learn more.