The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) said today they will partner to speed up discovery and development of new immuno-oncology treatments.

The value of the multiyear clinical research collaboration was not disclosed.

BMS becomes the first biopharma to partner with the Parker Institute and CRI. The company said it will solicit clinical research proposals from the Parker Institute and CRI researcher networks, as well as coordinate multisite clinical studies aimed at what the company calls the most difficult questions in cancer research.

BMS said its contributions to the collaboration will include advanced translational tools, precision immunotherapy, and bioanalytical expertise.

“Bristol-Myers Squibb is initiating this unique collaboration with a goal of accelerating the identification and development of new treatment options for patients who are facing very serious disease,” Fouad Namouni, M.D., BMS’ head of oncology development, said in a statement.

CRI has agreed to support the collaboration with investment from its Clinical Accelerator venture philanthropy program and access to its global network of leading investigators from around the world.

“Unlocking the full potential of next-generation precision cancer immunotherapy requires the kind of coordination, resources, and logistical support that the Parker Institute and the Cancer Research Institute can offer our research partners, and collaboration with industry leaders like Bristol-Myers Squibb will be essential to hastening the development of new cancer immunotherapies,” added Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., CEO and director of scientific affairs at CRI.

CRI is a nonprofit focused on advancing laboratory and clinical research through a global network of academic, industry, and nonprofit partners, with the goal of developing lifesaving immunotherapies for all forms of cancer.

The Parker Institute unites more than 40 industry and nonprofit partners, more than 60 labs, and more than 300 of the nation’s top researchers focused on cancer. The Institute’s network includes such top-tier cancer centers as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Stanford Medicine; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); University of California, San Francisco (UCSF); The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; and the University of Pennsylvania.

The Institute is named for Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and Facebook’s first president, who launched the institute in April 2016 with a $250 million grant.

The collaboration comes nearly 4 months after the Parker Institute and CRI agreed to partner to develop new personalized, targeted cancer immunotherapies—specifically, a new class of neoantigen vaccines. The Parker Institute and CRI said in December they were teaming up with the open science nonprofit Sage Bionetworks to manage the bioinformatics and data analysis behind the Tumor neoantigEn SeLection Alliance (TESLA), which includes 30 cancer neoantigen research groups from universities, companies, and nonprofits.

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