Collaboration focused on identification and validation of novel
cancer targets, discovery of novel therapeutics and associated
Lynda Chin, MD
Ronald DePinho, MD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Belfer Institute of Applied Cancer Science (Belfer Institute) and sanofi-aventis
(EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY) announced today that they have entered
into a collaboration and license option agreement to identify and
validate novel oncology targets for further discovery and development by
sanofi-aventis of novel therapeutics agents directed to such targets
and related biomarkers.
Research at the Belfer Institute is focused on understanding the
fundamental mechanisms of cancers, discovering and validating
therapeutic targets and their clinical context in sophisticated model
systems, enabling development of drug response biomarkers and supporting
the discovery and development of innovative cancer treatments.
Belfer Institute and sanofi-aventis scientists will work jointly with
the goal of discovering new anticancer drugs targeted at specific
Under the terms of the agreement, Dana-Farber will receive $33
million in upfront and research funding for a minimum of three years.
Dana-Farber will also be entitled to preclinical, clinical and
commercial milestone payments and royalties on sales of commercial
In return, sanofi-aventis obtains exclusive access to certain
components of a transformative cancer target identification and
validation platform originally developed in the laboratory of Lynda Chin, MD, the Belfer Institute's scientific director, and will also harness the strong translational capabilities of the Belfer team.
"At the Belfer Institute, our mission is to enable the discovery of
novel, more effective therapeutics for cancer patients. 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 Ronald DePinho, MD, director of Dana-Farber's Belfer Institute and professor of medicine and genetics at Harvard Medical School.
Giulio Draetta, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber's chief research business
development officer and deputy director of the Belfer Institute, added
"Our alliances with major pharmaceutical companies attest to our ability
to be recognized as a partner in the translation of breakthrough
discoveries into anti-cancer drugs. Our ability to integrate efforts at
the Belfer Institute with those of other Dana-Farber's integrative
research centers of excellence contributes to making our operations
extremely efficient, providing a continuum of activities from discovery
to clinical implementation."
"Translating research findings from academia to developing cancer
drugs in the industry is a complex task that requires the collaboration
of the best in the field," declared Debasish Roychowdhury, M.D., senior
vice president, head of Global Oncology Division, sanofi-aventis. "We
have an obligation to discover new medicines. This innovative
collaboration structure with the Belfer Institute, an entirely novel
organization, will strengthen sanofi-aventis Oncology's commitment to
accomplish our goals."