LOS ANGELES, April 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), the charitable initiative aimed at bringing new treatments to cancer patients quickly, today announced Catalyst, a new program that will use funding and materials from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostic and medical devices industries to accelerate research on cancer prevention, detection and treatment. Founding collaborator Merck; and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, are Charter Supporters.
"The Catalyst program is a perfect fit with the SU2C mission of accelerating the pace of groundbreaking translational research that provides new therapies to patients quickly," said Sung Poblete, RN, PhD, president and chief executive officer of SU2C. "This will be a nimble program that will help speed up the rate at which we discover what works."
Under the SU2C Catalyst program, companies like Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Genentech will donate funds to support collaborative research studies using products the companies will provide, such as new pharmaceutical compounds that they are developing or approved agents that can be investigated for other uses.
Through its scientific partner, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), SU2C will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to the scientific community based on each company's commitment of funding and materials such as drugs and diagnostic tests. The RFP will lay out the compounds that will be available, the research emphasis, the estimated number of projects that will be supported, and funding available. Proposals are expected to follow SU2C's collaborative research model.
The SU2C Catalyst program will be overseen by an Executive Committee chaired by Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, chair of the SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee and institute professor at the Koch Institute for Integrated Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A subcommittee chair from academia -- selected by the Executive Committee -- will work with an industry-specific Steering Subcommittee consisting of an equal number of academic scientists, named by SU2C in consultation with AACR, and pharmaceutical industry members named by the funding companies, to review proposals for grants pursuant to each industry-specific RFP. The program will be administered by the AACR.
Since 2008, SU2C has launched 19 Dream Teams, two Translational Research Teams, and 26 individual Innovative Research Grants, with funds committed by philanthropic, organizational, corporate and individual donors, as well as non-profit collaborators. More than 1,100 researchers at 131 institutions are or have been involved. More than 160 clinical trials have been planned, initiated or completed. Across the SU2C research portfolio, 69 pharmaceutical, diagnostic and biotech companies have engaged in 140 collaborative efforts with SU2C-affiliated scientists and institutions.
"We have a deep understanding of both the academic and industry perspectives and the powerful impact that collaboration has on research," Dr. Sharp said. "This program will bring those perspectives together in a new way for the benefit of patients."
"Just as patients can benefit from a multi-disciplinary team approach to treatment, Merck believes cancer research can benefit from diverse team of experts in industry, advocacy and academia," said Dr. Eric Rubin, vice president and therapeutic area head, oncology early-stage development, Merck Research Laboratories. "We are proud to be the first to collaborate with SU2C in the development of the Catalyst initiative. Through our support of this program, along with other collaborators, we hope to more rapidly bring advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment to patients in need."
"Bristol-Myers Squibb is proud to support the Stand Up To Cancer Catalyst program, furthering our joint commitment to improving outcomes for all cancer patients," said Awny Farajallah, vice president, head of U.S. Medical, Oncology, Bristol-Myers Squibb. "We are dedicated to continued collaboration with the goal of accelerating research and providing new therapies to the patients who need it most."
"Collectively, we have made great progress against cancer and must continue to work together to drive new approaches to prevent and treat cancer," said Dr. Edith Perez, vice president and head BioOncology Medical Affairs at Genentech, and director of the Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer Translational Genomics Program. "Collaborating with SU2C, AACR and the broader cancer community is an important step that can lead to new breakthroughs and possibly even a cure."
"The new source of funding is very important, and so is access to drugs and other materials," Dr. Sharp said. "Cancer researchers face challenges in obtaining materials needed for clinical trials. This program will ensure the necessary supply of agents and will also make the opportunity to engage in this type of research more widely available to the research community."
About the Stand Up To Cancer Initiative
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) raises funds to accelerate the pace of research to get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. SU2C, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was established in 2008 by film and media leaders who utilize the industry's resources to engage the public in supporting a new, collaborative model of cancer research, and to increase awareness about cancer prevention as well as progress being made in the fight against the disease. As SU2C's scientific partner, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and a Scientific Advisory Committee led by Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, conduct rigorous, competitive review processes to identify the best research proposals to recommend for funding, oversee grants administration, and provide expert review of research progress.
About the American Association for Cancer Research
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 35,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and patient advocates residing in 104 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 30 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with nearly 19,300 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration, and scientific oversight of team science and individual investigator grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and other policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit www.AACR.org.
About Merck & Co.
For 125 years, Merck has been a global health care leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.
About Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol-Myers Squibb, visit us at BMS.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
Founded 40 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.
SOURCE Stand Up To Cancer