NIH partners with biopharma to speed development of cancer immunotherapy work

The Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies - PACT - is a five-year, $215 million collaboration and part of the Cancer Moonshot.
By Bernie Monegain
01:01 PM

The National Institutes of Health and 11 biopharmaceutical companies will work together to fast-track the development of cancer cures through immunotherapy strategies.

The Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies – PACT – is a five-year, $215 million collaboration and part of the Cancer Moonshot. PACT will first focus on efforts to develop and validate biomarkers to develop new immunotherapy treatments that uses the immune system to treat cancer.

“We have seen dramatic responses from immunotherapy, often eradicating cancer completely for some cancer patients,” NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, said in a statement. “We need to bring that kind of success – and hope – for more people and more types of cancers, and we need to do it quickly. A systematic approach like PACT will help us to achieve success faster.”

As Collins describes it, PACT will facilitate systematic and uniform clinical testing of biomarkers to broaden the understanding of the mechanisms of response and resistance to cancer therapy. 

“This new public-private partnership is a significant step forward in the battle against cancer and a real boost to the potential of immunotherapy,” Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan said in a statement.

PACT partners include AbbVie; Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG, Ingelheim; Bristol-Myers Squibb; Celgene Corporation; Genentech; Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline; Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson; Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research; and Pfizer.

Additional support has been provided by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association. The 11-partner organizations will contribute up to $1 million a year for five years for a total private sector contribution of $55 million. NIH will contribute $160 million over the five years of the partnership, pending availability of funds.

NIH’s National Cancer Institute recently awarded cooperative agreements to support four Cancer Immune Monitoring and Analysis Centers and a Cancer Immunologic Data Commons with a total of $53.6 million in funding over five years. The centers will support both adult and pediatric immunotherapy trials.

The NCI cooperative agreements have been awarded to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Stanford Cancer Institute, Precision Immunology Institute and the Tisch Cancer Institute at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
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