AbbVie will partner with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to develop cancer immunotherapies under a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

MD Anderson and AbbVie plan to carry out preclinical and clinical studies focused on immuno-oncology over the next three years.

“AbbVie has both identified new molecules and developed novel technology to hit key targets, with the objective of designing new immunotherapy for the benefit of our patients,” Padmanee Sharma, M.D., Ph.D., immunotherapy platform scientific director and professor of Genitourinary Medical Oncology and Immunology at MD Anderson said in a statement.

The AbbVie agreement is the first in a limited number of collaborations focused on MD Anderson’s immunotherapy platform, said Ferran Prat, Ph.D., J.D., MD Anderson’s vp of strategic ventures.

AbbVie and MD Anderson said they will each assign two scientists to a joint scientific committee, which will decide on projects to pursue. The collaboration will begin with projects driven by AbbVie Biotherapeutics, an independent biotechnology company owned by AbbVie and located in Redwood City, CA.

Future projects will draw from across AbbVie’s oncology pipeline, the company and MD Anderson said. Oncology is one of AbbVie’s areas of therapeutic focus, along with immunology, kidney disease, liver disease, neuroscience, and women’s health.

The collaboration is MD Anderson’s latest in its “Moon Shots” program, announced in 2012, consisting of a series of partnerships designed to speed up translation of scientific discoveries into clinical advances that significantly reduce cancer deaths.

MD Anderson’s “Moon Shots” cancer focus expanded in October from eight to 12 targets by adding B-cell lymphoma, glioblastoma (brain cancer), cancers caused by the human papillomavirus, high-risk multiple myeloma, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. The original Moon Shots targets were breast and ovarian cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, lung cancer, melanoma, myelodysplastic syndrome/acute myeloid leukemia, and prostate cancer.

Between June 2012 and October 2015 Moon Shots had received cash gifts, pledges, and bequests totaling $290 million.








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