Takeda joins Celgene on M2Gen’s clinical and molecular cancer data sharing program


Takeda has signed up to work with M2Gen on the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN) Avatar research program. The agreement, which comes two months after M2Gen unveiled ORIEN with Celgene ($CELG) as a founding member, gives Takeda access to deidentified clinical and molecular data generated at the 12 cancer care centers signed up to the program.

M2Gen, an informatics research subsidiary of Moffitt Cancer Center, set up ORIEN to turn data from patients with advanced-stage cancers into a precompetitive resource drugmakers can tap into on a subscription basis. Celgene, the founding industry member of the program, sees the data giving it a better understanding of the molecular characteristics of disease and, by extension, new treatment designs to explore. Takeda has homed in on a different benefit of the dataset.

“One of the biggest challenges in oncology research is identifying the right cohort of patients for enrollment into clinical trials," Phil Rowlands, interim head of the oncology therapeutic area unit at Takeda, said in a statement. "Our innovative partnership with M2Gen has the potential to enable us to more quickly and precisely enroll patients at sites with a strong commitment to high quality translational medicine."

The potential benefits of the dataset to clinical trial enrollment stem from the molecular information it contains. Now, when Takeda is recruiting patients with a specific biomarker for a clinical trial, it can turn to the ORIEN dataset to identify potential participants. The dataset includes details of relevance to inclusion/exclusion criteria, such as stage of disease and treatment history. And patients who sign up to contribute data to the project also consent to ongoing follow up throughout their lives.

ORIEN draws its pool of patients from 12 cancer care centers, including those at Moffitt, Ohio State University, City of Hope and Rutgers. In return for contributing the data, the cancer care centers gain access to clinical trials from Celgene, Takeda and whichever other drug developers sign up for the ORIEN program. M2Gen has designed the initiative to support the participation of an unlimited number of drug developers.

Takeda was an obvious candidate to sign up because of its prior working relationship with M2Gen, which helped it to enroll patients in Phase II gastric and pancreatic cancer studies in 2014. M2Gen has ties to other drugmakers, too, including AstraZeneca ($AZN) and Roche’s ($RHHBY) Genentech, which are funding its collaboration with PatientsLikeMe.

- read the release