Cancer patient talking to doctor while lying in bed
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Prominent healthcare companies McKesson and HCA Healthcare announced on Thursday their plans to form a joint venture that will join their respective oncology research arms. By combining of McKesson’s US Oncology Research (USOR) and HCA Healthcare’s Sarah Cannon Research Institute (SCRI), the two companies aim to create a joint oncology research venture aimed at expanding clinical research, fostering drug development, and increasing access to clinical trials for cancer patients in the community setting, including patients in underserved areas.

“McKesson and HCA Healthcare share a commitment to advancing the next generation of cancer care,” said McKesson CEO Brian Tyler in a press release. “This new joint venture is an important step forward in increasing access to clinical trials, particularly within the community setting, where the majority of all cancer patients are initially treated. Additionally, the joint venture directly aligns with McKesson’s strategic growth priorities by further expanding our differentiated oncology ecosystem…”

Under the terms of the deal, expected to close later this year, McKesson will own 51% of the joint oncology research venture and will have operating control. Executives from both companies will form the leadership of the as-yet-unnamed research organization. SCRI’s Dee Anna Smith, will be chief executive officer and SCRI’s Howard A. “Skip” Burris, III, MD, will serve as president. The chief medical officer and chief scientific officers will be USOR’s Robert Coleman, MD and SCRI’s David Spigel, MD. The governing board will likewise comprise a mix of representatives from McKesson and HCA.

In a separate transaction, McKesson said it will acquire Genospace the precision medicine platform of SCRI, which aggregates and analyzes both genomic and clinical data to provide clinical decision support and clinical trial matching services. The platform is built to collect and leverage large-scale population data to inform precision medicine and drug development efforts and has been the platform the fuels the efforts of SCRI. According to information on the Genospace website, the precision medicine platform handles data from more than 26 million patients annually, newly diagnosing 120,000 patients, and is deployed via various collaborations at more than 300 hospitals and surgery centers.

“When it comes to the fight against cancer, building a network of collaborators is essential. Our impact on patients is evident through our longstanding partnerships with experts from Tennessee Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists and many other valued oncology programs,” said Dee Anna Smith, CEO of Sarah Cannon. “In the last three decades, our collaborations have led to advancing treatment standards for the majority of new cancer therapies that are available to patients today. We believe that coming together with US Oncology Research will complement and strengthen our network so that we can continue to make a greater impact for people living with cancer.”

SCRI is the research arm of HCA Healthcare’s Cancer Institute, Sarah Cannon. Since its inception in 1993, it has led more than 600 first-in-human clinical trials and has been a clinical trial leader in the majority of approved cancer therapies for more than a decade.

US Oncology Research is the research arm of The US Oncology Network. Its network specializes in oncology clinical trials, serving approximately 60 research sites at more than 170 locations and manages upwards of 500 active trials at any given time.

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