Firm will provide funding for program founded on 1,000-patient study to define molecular mechanisms of disease.

Millennium entered a multiyear collaboration with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) to support and help fund the latter’s Personalized Medicine Initiative, an eight-year program focused on identifying the molecular mechanisms underpinning multiple myeloma.

The Takeda subsidiary is the first industry partner to be involved in the MMRF initiative, which has been founded on the recently launched CoMMpass study. CoMMpass aims to follow 1,000 multiple myeloma patients from initial diagnosis through treatment, to identify how each patient’s molecular profile affects clinical progression and response to treatment. The aim is to identify the molecular basis of multiple myeloma development and progression, generate new opportunities for the development of targeted therapeutics, and provide molecular insights that will enable clinicians to identify the best therapeutic strategy for individual patients.

The partnership builds on the organizations’ longstanding and ongoing relationship, through which MMRF supported development and introduction of Millennium’s Velcade® (bortezomib) therapy for multiple myeloma. As the initial member of a planned “precompetitive industry consortium” that will include other commercial partners, Millennium will provide financial support for the initiative.

 “We believe strongly that the MMRF’s Personalized Medicine Initiative will greatly improve our basic understanding of multiple myeloma, and will transform the way the entire research community works to turn new insights into testable hypotheses, and hypotheses into new treatments,” comments Nancy Simonian, M.D., the firm’s CMO.

Takeda reported U.S. sales of Velcade were ¥14.1 billion in the three months to June 30, 2011, up 7% on the same period the previous year. The drug has been co-developed by Millennium and Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development. Millennium has U.S. rights to the drug, Janssen Pharmaceutical and Takeda are responsible for commercialization in Japan, and Janssen-Cilag has commercialization rights in Europe and the rest of the world.

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