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May 17, 2017

Stand Up To Cancer, Genentech Launch 2nd Round of Catalyst Grants

  • Stand Up To Cancer is launching its second SU2C Catalyst™ collaboration in 6 months with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, with the goal of accelerating development of new cancer treatments and combination therapies.

    The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), SU2C’s scientific partner, has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to researchers seeking grant funding under SU2C Catalyst, a collaborative program managed for SU2C by the AACR.

    Genentech is expected to fund one or more proposals for the 3-year grants, each in the range of $1 million to $3 million. Proposals must be based on perceived opportunities for success, as well as high-priority areas with a critical need for rapid progress beyond current medical care.

    Proposals for SU2C Catalyst Research Grant: Genentech-Supported Projects must be submitted by 12 noon ET on June 27. Program guidelines can be found at AACR's website, and proposals must be submitted here.

    Through SU2C Catalyst, Genentech plans to support clinical trials focusing on new uses for 14 approved or investigational treatments, including atezolizumab (Tecentriq®), bevacizumab (Avastin®) with atezolizumab or other immune-modulating agents; alectinib (Alecensa®); cobimetinib (Cotellic®); vemurafenib (Zelboraf®);vismodegib (Erivedge®); and trastuzumab (Herceptin®) plus pertuzumab (Perjeta®) (must be in this combination only).

    The 14 treatments also include obinutuzumab (Gazyva®), anti-OX40 (alone or combination with atezolizumab only), CEA-CD3 T-cell bispecific antibody (TCB) (contingent upon ongoing developments from the Genentech/Roche clinical development program), emactuzumab, anti-CD40, and idasanutlin.

    Each of the 14 treatments can be investigated alone or in combination with other compounds, biologics, diagnostics, or devices intended as therapeutic interventions, and/or methods for biomarker identification in five areas of research:

    • Role of negative or positive regulatory molecules (biomarkers) as predictors of response to immune therapies in the setting of preoperative versus metastatic clinical settings.
    • Neoantigen identification and predictability of clinical effects of immune therapies (checkpoints, TCB antibodies, adjuvants, endogenous versus exogenous vaccines).
    • Duration of immune therapies, including after response or disease progression, and impact on immune biomarkers.
    • Mechanisms of acquired resistance to checkpoint inhibitors or post-progression relapse after checkpoint inhibitors.
    • Investigate the immune-modulatory and antitumor effects of combinations of: immunotherapeutic agents (with atezolizumab as the backbone of the combination), targeted agents, or conventional cancer therapies, where the combination reflects a clear mechanistic hypothesis. 

    SU2C Catalyst is intended to support pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostic, and device research intended to bring new treatments to patients as quickly as possible through early-phase clinical trials or translational research. Clinical trials must be at the heart of each proposal, according to SU2C.

    SU2C Catalyst is overseen by an executive committee chaired by Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., chair of the SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee, and institute professor at the Koch Institute for Integrated Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Genentech collaborated with SU2C in an initial round of Catalyst projects launched last year.

    “We are grateful for Genentech’s continuing support of SU2C research and for the extraordinary role the company has played in developing immunotherapy and targeted treatments for many different types of cancer,” Raymond N. DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the College of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, and chair of the SU2C Catalyst Genentech Steering Subcommittee, said yesterday in a statement.

    In addition to Genentech, SU2C also maintains Catalyst funding programs with two other pharma giants, Merck & Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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