By Allison Proffitt
January 9, 2013 | SINGAPORE—Bayer HealthCare has launched an Integrated Translational Oncology Network in Singapore to facilitate drug discovery and development specifically for cancers prevalent in Asian populations.
The Network includes Bayer and six research partners in Singapore: Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, National University of Singapore; Duke-NUS; National University Cancer Institute Singapore (NCIS); National Cancer Centre Singapore; Singhealth Singapore General Hospital; and A*STAR’s Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC).
The Network builds on Bayer’s existing collaborations, some of which have been underway since 2008, and have produced positive results, particularly in gastric, liver and lung cancers, which are leading causes of cancer death in Asia and among the top killers in Singapore in particular.
The network represents an established and integrated network from target to clinic, said Karl Ziegelbauer, senior vice president, Oncology & Gynecology Research, Bayer HealthCare, in a presentation announcing the Integrated Translational Oncology Network in Singapore earlier this week.
Bayer intends for the Network partners to share their strategic visions and work on collaborative projects and trials. The groups will organize joint activities, such as annual meetings, workshops, or lectures and link their network and activities to other leading centers in Asia Pacific.
Along with members of the Network, Bayer HealthCare has ongoing projects looking at nasopharyngeal cancer and colorectal cancer, as well as several projects in biomarker identification, pathway mutations, and tumor imaging.
“Bayer has a strong R&D focus on oncology, and we recognize that there may be differences in the Asian disease biology compared to other regions in the world,” said Ziegelbauer in a statement. “Our collaborations in Singapore help us understand the Asian disease biology better and to develop new therapeutics closer to market. We are pleased with the positive outcomes from our collaborative efforts here so far. Our new Integrated Translational Oncology Network will help take the effectiveness of our partnerships along the value chain further—right from the scientific idea in the lab, through all stages of R&D processes, and to finally bring a new drug to the clinic to address patients’ needs.”
Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Duke-NUS: To study target and pathway mutations using clinical samples; identify biomarkers by high-throughput technologies, functional studies and data integration; and study development candidates in Asian cancer cell lines
Key research projects between Bayer HealthCare and the Integrated Translational Oncology network partners include:
- Cancer science Institute of Singapore, National University of Singapore: In vitro and xenograft studies to evaluate potential activity of Bayer’s drug in nasopharyngeal cancer
- National University Cancer Institute, Singapore: To evaluate biomarkers, anti-tumor activity, and safety in colorectal cancer in an innovative paired biopsy study
- National Cancer Centre Singapore: To further develop in vivo models with high relevance for the clinic, leading to the identification of key markers, pathways and targets determining the group of patients which have the highest chance to benefit from a specific therapy
- Singapore General Hospital: A preclinical project to develop new tracers for tumor imaging and a clinical proof of concept study have been completed, and the knowledge and experience are being applied to other collaborations
- A*STAR’s Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC): Originally set up to develop novel platforms for non-invasive imaging of tumors to study the role of metabolism in liver cancer and identify potential agents for therapy, this partnership is now focused on the development of cancer therapeutics, including the use of imaging in such development
Editor’s note: Bio-IT World will be hosting its second annual Bio-IT World Asia event this May in Singapore. Bio-IT World Asia will showcase innovative and disruptive technologies in the fields of big data processing and analytics, genomics, molecular diagnostics and translational informatics that have a direct or indirect impact on improving the efficiency of clinical research, health care delivery and drug discovery. For more details, see www.bio-itworldasia.com.