TESARO and MD Anderson Partner to Develop Immune-Modulating Cancer Therapies

TESARO, Inc., and the Institute for Applied Cancer Science at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have entered into an exclusive alliance to discover and develop small molecule product candidates against immuno-oncology targets. The partnership leverages MD Anderson’s know-how in drug discovery and translational medicine, and TESARO’s experience in the development and commercialization of oncology drugs.

Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS) was established to apply scientific knowledge of mechanisms driving tumor development and maintenance into the development of small molecule cancer therapies. The collaboration is the institute’s first with a specific focus on the discovery of small molecule drugs.

“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,” Mary Lynne Hedley, PhD, president and COO of TESARO, said in a recent 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.”

The company’s immune-oncology portfolio is focused on developing antibodies to immune checkpoint receptors — programmed death-1 (PD-1), T-cell immunoglobulin, mucin domain-3 (TIM-3), and lymphocyte activation gene-3 (LAG-3) — that block the interaction of those receptors with their respective ligands, so to restore immune anti-cancer function in patients with varying types of solid tumors.

Under the agreement,  TESARO will receive global exclusive rights for the development and commercialization of any small molecule product candidates resulting from the partnership, and will be responsible for research funding, and development and commercialization expenses. MD Anderson will conduct the research to identify clinical product candidates with clearly defined characteristics aimed at specific immuno-oncology targets. The targets were not disclosed in the release.

“This synergistic partnership provides an opportunity to fast-track novel immune-modulating therapies towards our cancer patients,” said Phil Jones, PhD, executive director and head of the IACS platform. “This alliance is optimally aligned with IACS’ mission to rapidly advance impactful therapies into clinical practice.”


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