Cancer Research Mergers Lead the Way

Cancer research is one of the noblest careers with opportunities to improve the lives of millions of people every year. One day, we’ll find the cure. Until that time, research groups are striving diligently to improve the odds every single day. Many are merging together in an effort to make it happen.

Competition keeps research thriving. It helps firms to set goals, vie for funding, and race to find solutions. However, maintaining competition does not mean isolation. In fact, companies that work in tandem in the name of cancer research utilize their strengths for better research outcomes.

Cancer research mergers are leading the way to unprecedented progress in the industry. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities being realized with these mergers.

Rush University Works with Tech Firm Tempus

Rush University, a respected medical, research, and education center, recently announced a collaboration with the tech firm Tempus, a company that has provided genetic analysis of Rush cancer patients to better inform physician treatment decisions. Now, they’ll house the biorepository of tissue samples taken from cancer patients in order to achieve better results in diagnosis.

The goal is to create more personalized diagnoses for individual patients. They hope to be able to design treatments that target genetic mutations, which can contribute to the development of the disease. Tempus will analyze the genes of each patient and compare them with genes commonly associated with cancer to find a solution to the problem.

“Their strength is analysis,” Dr. Vijaya Reddy, chairperson of the Rush Department of Pathology, said about Tempus in a statement.  ”We’re taking what we do beyond good patient care to the level of precision medicine — analysis at the molecular level of each patient’s tumor. This infrastructure is key for both our clinicians and our researchers.”

Cancer care will be unparalleled as it furthers Rush’s library of information. The biorepository will contain new data that can significantly expand physician knowledge bases and help physicians more effectively fight against cancer at the molecular level.

Dr. Joshua Jacobs, associate provost for research at Rush University, and chairperson of the Rush Department of Orthopedic Surgery, believes that cancer isn’t the only application that can surface with this collaboration.

“While cancer is the current focus, the collaboration with Tempus has the potential to be scaled up to include tissues from patients with a variety of other diseases where a ‘precision medicine’ approach can yield more precise diagnoses, improved treatments and more robust prevention strategies,” Dr. Jacobs says.

Roche Holdings Acquires Ignyta

In a $1.7 million, all-cash, 2017 deal, Roche Holdings, a global pioneer in diagnostics and pharmaceuticals research, acquired Ignyta, a pharmaceutical company that specializes in medical diagnostics. This merger is driven by the idea that cancer research should revolve around discoveries at the molecular level rather than the origin of the cancer.

Together the two companies are working on making a drug called entrectinib become a standard of care in certain cancer treatments. Entrectinib is a TRK inhibitor that received a 69 percent overall response rating in non-small cell lung cancer patients in 2017. Results also indicated that the use of this drug could prevent brain metastases.

Daniel O’Day, CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals, said of the transaction, “Cancer is a highly complex disease and many patients suffer from mutations which are difficult to detect and treat. The agreement with Ignyta builds on Roche’s strategy of fitting treatments to patients and will allow Roche to broaden and strengthen its oncology portfolio globally.”

Ignyta’s Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder, Jonathan E. Lim is also optimistic about the merger, noting that they likely wouldn’t have been able to take the life-saving drug entrectinib so far if it hadn’t been for this merger.

“Ignyta has been singularly focused on developing precisely targeted therapeutics guided by diagnostics for patients with rare cancers. We are excited that Roche, the global leader in both oncology and personalized healthcare, recognizes this powerful approach and shares our passion for advancing entrectinib for the benefit of patients.”

These two mergers are pivotal examples of what can occur when companies working towards the same goal come together. The future of cancer treatments is brighter when organizations collaborate.

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