Pharma giants join forces behind Asian cancer research group

Eli Lilly, Merck and Pfizer are joining forces to launch a new research group in Asia which will zero in on new therapies and diagnostics for the continent's most common cancer types. And the Asian Cancer Research Group--which will initially target lung and gastric cancers--plans to share their work with academic researchers in the field.

"Through its work and the subsequent sharing of information, the ACRG hopes to empower researchers, foster innovation and improve the prognosis and treatment of patients with cancer," said Gary Gilliland, senior vice president and franchise head, Oncology, Merck Research Laboratories.

The three pharma giants vow to create one of the "most extensive pharmacogenomic cancer databases known to date" over the next two years. And Lilly says it will use an open-source approach to make the data readily available through its Singapore research site.

"This company will aid researchers around the world to develop diagnostics, tailor current treatments and develop novel therapies to improve outcomes for affected patients with lung, gastric and perhaps other forms of cancer," says Kerry Blanchard, vice president and leader of drug development in China for Lilly.

Asia has become a big focus for the world's pharma industry, which hopes to capture the region's emerging drug markets.

- check out the joint press release