TESARO Inc., an oncology-dedicated biopharma, and the Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS) at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, a drug discovery and development group dedicated to eliminating cancer, have recently announced an exclusive collaboration to discover and develop small molecule product candidates against undisclosed immuno-oncology targets.
The TESARO collaboration is the first time IACS is specifically focused on small molecule drug discovery. The partner project leverages MD Anderson’s expertise in drug discovery and translational medicine, and TESARO’s oncology drugs’ development and commercialization expertise.
“We are excited to be partnering with the exceptional group of drug hunters at MD Anderson’s IACS to identify drug candidates against targets we collectively believe will build upon the recognized promise of immuno-oncology for patients living with cancer,” said Mary Lynne Hedley, Ph.D., TESARO’s president and Chief Operating Officer, in a press release. “We intend for this partnership to expand and complement TESARO’s existing portfolio of immuno-oncology programs and we continue to believe that immuno-oncology will transform our approach to cancer therapy.”
According to the new agreement’s terms, TESARO will receive exclusive global rights for the development and commercialization of any small molecule product candidates that might result from the partnership. MD Anderson will be responsible for conducting all research activity, which will focus on the identification of clinical candidates with specific characteristics, targeting certain immuno-oncology targets.
The funding of research, development and commercialization expenses for the project will be TESARO’s responsibility. Additional terms of the agreement remained undisclosed.
“This synergistic partnership provides an opportunity to fast-track novel immune-modulating therapies toward our cancer patients,” said Phil Jones, Ph.D., executive director of the IACS platform. “This alliance is optimally aligned with IACS’ mission to rapidly advance impactful therapies into clinical practice.”
IACS projects focus on drug discovery in the areas of cancer metabolism, epigenetics, and signal transduction. These projects go through an evaluation of their clinical impact and scientific merit, as well as of their technical feasibility. Specific factors considered in the selection of a new target include disease relevance; ease of therapeutic attack (particularly the likelihood of finding a timely, suitable molecule for proof-of-concept pharmacological study); and clinical need with an emphasis on cancer subtypes that have no currently available cures.