NEW YORK, Dec. 8, 2016 –– Earlier this year the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) launched the Drug Research Collaborative, an unprecedented new funding model aimed at bridging the gap between academic investigators and new drugs in development. Today, BCRF announced nine new projects that are part of this ground-breaking collaboration between BCRF, Pfizer and the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC). The program—funded with an initial $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—will support six laboratory studies and three clinical trials that will collectively benefit nearly 400 patients with metastatic disease, to be conducted and managed by the TBCRC.
"These clinical and laboratory studies demonstrate that both innovation and efficiency are well served when you bring together the brightest academic scientists, an enlightened industry leader and the nonprofit sector," 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 demonstrates a new way to give more patients access to creative clinical trials and thereby greatly accelerate progress toward major, life-affirming discoveries."
"Through this process we have been able to work closely with investigators to help develop their ideas. Not only are we able to fund the most innovative, exciting work but also collaborate through an iterative process to design the most effective and efficient trials for patients," said Antonio Wolff, MD, Director of the TBCRC and Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
"We are thrilled by the caliber and originality of the projects that BCRF has identified to be part of this initiative and the potential they hold for patients with breast cancer," said Liz Barrett, global president and general manager, Pfizer Oncology. "Drug collaborations like this one are integral to our efforts to learn faster and speed the development of accessible, breakthrough cancer medicines to patients. We look forward to opening our oncology portfolio to researchers in this new and exciting way."
In response to a request for proposals released in April 2016, BCRF received an incredible 48 proposals (totaling over $51 million), 16 of which were clinical trials—the overwhelming response reflects the abundance of innovative and cutting edge ideas that are simply lacking access or funding. An expert review panel comprised of leading breast cancer researchers across the country selected the final projects, which are expected to begin by summer of 2017. The speed with which the projects were selected and the grants dispersed underscores the unique funding model developed by the collaboration between industry and academia, with BCRF serving as the bridge. The urgency for new treatments are felt by the 150,000 women and men diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, with 40,000 people dying from the disease each year.
These are the first projects announced as part of BCRF's Drug Research Collaborative. As other pharmaceutical companies join the Collaborative and expand this program, BCRF continues the pursuit of accelerating clinical research on treatment strategies for people with breast cancer.
BCRF was founded to fund clinical and translational research. In 2016-2017, the Foundation is supporting more than 250 scientists around the world with grants totaling $57 million to fuel discoveries in tumor biology, genetics, prevention, treatment, survivorship and metastasis.
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