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S-A to collaborate in cancer research

Sanofi-aventis is joining forces with the Belfer Institute of Applied Cancer Science to identify cancer targets for the development of new treatments

Sanofi-aventis (S-A) is joining forces with the Boston-based Belfer Institute of Applied Cancer Science to identify novel cancer targets for the development of new treatments.

Located at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), the Belfer Institute is focused on research that involves the fundamental mechanisms of cancer. Its aim is to discover potential therapeutic targets within the cancer that have yet to be covered by current treatments, as well as to support the development of innovative therapies.

"By combining our expertise in cancer genetics and translational medicine with sanofi-aventis' excellent drug discovery and development track record, this alliance has great potential to change the practice of cancer medicine," said Dr Ronald DePinho, director of the Belfer Institute and professor of medicine and genetics at Harvard Medical School.

The deal will grant S-A access to Belfer's cancer target identification and validation platform, as well as its translational medicine capabilities. S-A will also have exclusive license to develop, manufacture and commercialise potential treatments directed at targets identified by the collaboration.

In return, the DFCI – a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School – will receive $33m as an upfront payment, as well as research funding for a minimum of three years. Further milestone payments and royalties are also available depending on the success of the research.

Speaking on the deal, Dr Debasish Roychowdhury, senior vice president, head of Global Oncology Division, S-A: "We have an obligation to discover new medicines. This innovative collaboration structure with the Belfer Institute, an entirely novel organisation, will strengthen sanofi-aventis oncology's commitment to accomplish our goals."

23rd September 2010

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