AstraZeneca, Repositive call on Big Pharma to join cancer data sharing consortium


AstraZeneca ($AZN) has teamed up with Repositive to form a cancer data sharing consortium. The scheme will use Repositive’s platform to share molecular data from patient-derived xenografts (PDX), a precompetitive approach to oncology research the partners hope will prove attractive to other Big Pharma companies.

Genomic software company Repositive and AstraZeneca got the idea for the consortium from Pistoia Alliance, a nonprofit life science R&D coalition. And, having got the ball rolling, the partners are now calling on members of Pistoia Alliance and other interested academic and industrial organizations to join them in sharing PDX data. The Pistoia Alliance lists Merck ($MRK), Novartis ($NVS), Pfizer ($PFE) and a host of other leading drugmakers among its core members.

Jonathan Dry, principal scientist at AstraZeneca Oncology iMed, thinks researchers at these and other organizations will benefit from signing up to participate in the consortium. “This pre-competitive resource will increase the efficiency with which our scientists can search the world’s providers of PDX models to find the best for their research,” Dry said in a statement.

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The pitch is that molecular data from PDX models are a precompetitive resource and, as such, every organization will benefit from sharing the information. PDX models are created by implanting human cancer tissue into immunodeficient mice. As the tumor developed in a person, not the mouse, this approach is seen as yielding models that are more representative of humans, enabling researchers to translate their work into the clinic with greater confidence.

As all oncology R&D operations need effective PDX models, AstraZeneca and Repositive think there is value in sharing data that helps researchers select the most appropriate tools. The proposal continues a multiyear move toward seeing more and more of the supporting tools and infrastructure used in drug development as precompetitive. Other initiatives include Transcelerate BioPharma’s creation of a shared registry of clinical trial investigators.

- read the release

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