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BMS launches global academic collaboration in immuno-oncology

US and European institutes to help translational research into cell-based immunotherapies

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is to team up with ten cancer institutes and universities from across the world to research how a body's own immune system can fight cancer.

The International Immuno-Oncology Network (II-ON) will take a translational focus to quickly develop scientific research findings, including drug discoveries, into clinical trials then clinical practice.

Dr Elliot Sigal, chief scientific officer and president, R&D, at BMS said the partnership would “leverage intellectual capabilities across a global network,” with partners coming from France, Spain, the US, the UK, Italy and the Netherlands.

He continued: “The shared commitment of all those participating in this collaboration is to evolve our understanding of immuno-oncology towards our ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes.”

The idea of using cell-based immunotherapy to target cancer has been around since the late 1980s, although its only in recent years that its results have come to fruition, including BMS' own antibodies Yervoy (ipilimumab) for skin cancer and Erbitux (cetuximab) for metastatic colorectal cancer and head and neck cancer.

The new partnership will develop the principles behind these medicines even further, with research covering a variety of cancer types.

The involved European institutes are: Clinica Universidad Navarra of Spain; Institut Gustave Roussy of France; the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust of the UK; the UK's Institute of Cancer Research; the Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori of Italy; and the Netherlands Cancer Institute.

In the US, BMS will be working with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston; Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Baltimore; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York; and the University of Chicago.

30th May 2012

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