[National Cancer Institute
[National Cancer Institute

Under a new research agreement, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and healthcare informatics company M2Gen will use data generated by the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN) to map and better understand the genetic profiles of patients with a range of cancers, all with the intent of speeding development work of new cancer drugs.

The collaboration will see Takeda help build and leverage information generated by the ORIEN Avatar Research Program, a prospective observational study of patients with various cancers. By building a large data set across many different forms of cancer, the companies aim to leverage the data to more effectively find and enroll patients with specific biomarkers in appropriate clinical studies.

“One of the biggest challenges in oncology research is identifying the right cohort of patients for enrollment into clinical trials,” said Phil Rowlands, interim head, of the Oncology Therapeutic Area Unit at Takeda. “Our innovative partnership with M2Gen has the potential to enable us to more quickly and precisely enroll patients at sites with a strong commitment to high quality translational medicine.”

In addition to including specific genomic information about each consenting patient, the data will include such information as stage of disease, demographics, and treatment history, further enhancing efforts to provide more precise and directed therapies for each patient. As part of the agreement, Takeda will receive patient de-identified data generated via the ORIEN Avatar Program, from all of ORIEN’s network of 12 cancer treatment center members. Members of the ORIEN network include Moffit Cancer Center, the Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center, Morehouse School of Medicine, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center, among others. Patients who consent to take part in the program agree to be followed throughout their lifetime.

The new collaboration helps build on work conducted by Takeda and M2Gen in 2014 which leveraged M2Gen’s informatics capabilities to identify patients suitable for enrollment in Phase II studies in gastric and pancreatic cancer. The pilot program demonstrated M2Gen's capability to identify patients who might benefit from enrollment in the clinical trials and to facilitate rapid trial enrollment. Through ongoing collaborative learning, Takeda and M2Gen see the continued potential for success in scientific and clinical trial development and in meeting patient needs.

In April, M2Gen and ORIEN partnered with Celegen in a deal similar to the new collaboration with Takeda, the two organization’s first such partnership with a major pharmaceutical company.

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