"Immuno-oncology is radically shifting the research and treatment landscape in oncology. We believe that the greatest success in difficult-to-treat cancers will be achieved with immuno-oncology and its combination with cancer cell directed therapy, which is why we are committing significant resources in both areas," said Jonathon Sedgwick, Ph.D., Vice President and Global Head, Cancer Immunology and Immune Modulation. "In the immuno-oncology space, Boehringer Ingelheim is poised for the next wave of innovation with clinical phase projects ranging across checkpoint inhibitors, oncolytic viruses, cancer vaccines and T-cell engagers. As such, the expansion of our external partnerships is designed to complement our own R&D, push boundaries and foster innovation – all with the goal of bringing medicines of high therapeutic value to patients sooner."
With approximately 50 percent of its overall early-to-mid-stage pipeline emerging from collaborations, the company's research strategy is firmly anchored in external innovation for all therapeutic areas, and the breadth and depth of exploration demonstrates Boehringer Ingelheim’s commitment to oncology, including the comprehensive oncology pipeline that encompasses more than 10 clinical stage assets in development for various cancer and tumor types. This is supplemented by the ongoing Corporate Venture Fund activities, which continue to drive innovation through strategic investments in early-stage science and technology.
Bringing together the most creative minds across public and private institutions, including academia and industry, Boehringer Ingelheim has entered into numerous new external partnerships or expanded existing relationships, many of which are researching oncology. These partnerships cover a range of areas from basic science to clinical development and build on past successes. Over the past year, a number of oncology collaborations relating to immunology have generated excitement and fueled innovation, including:
- University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA - This collaboration with UCLA's Technology Development Group aims to develop a promising vaccine technology platform developed by the research team of Drs. William Gelbart and Charles Knobler based on using the protein shell of a plant virus to deliver a self-replicating RNA vaccine cargo to cancer patients’ antigen-presenting cells, which in turn would direct the immune system to eliminate the cancer.
- Siamab Therapeutics, Newton, MA - This partnership is utilizing Siamab’s proprietary technology platform and aims to identify anti-cancer therapeutics that target tumor associated carbohydrate antigens (TACAs), which are present in the majority of solid tumors including ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, colon, gastric and breast. TACAs that are selectively expressed on cancer and not normal healthy cells represent one way of directing cancer killing therapies.
- AbeXXa Biologics, Arlington, TX and Cambridge, MA - AbeXXa is looking to identify a new series of selective molecular targets for cancer from the many thousands of proteins found on the interior of a tumor cell. This new field of research could potentially result in immunotherapies that prove effective for a broad range of patients. In addition, AbeXXa won the 2016 Boston Innovation Prize sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim and has also received funding through the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund.
"Boehringer Ingelheim believes partnerships are vital to innovation as it leverages human talent and resources to speed research. We highly value our partners' creativity and the opportunities and resources they offer as we work together to tackle the biggest challenges in oncology," said Dr. Jörg Barth, Boehringer Ingelheim's Therapeutic Area Head Oncology. "We believe the best way to accelerate innovation is by combining our in-house capabilities in collaboration with industry and academia. Winning the fight against cancer will only be achieved with novel approaches and genuine scientific breakthroughs."
From discovery and development through to commercialization, Boehringer Ingelheim is seeking strong, long-term, innovation partnerships to improve our understanding of cancer and transform patient lives. With long-term exploration and investment in mind, the company works to build relationships based on common goals, mutual trust and commitment that involve a “bench to bedside” method, incorporating extensive resources and professionals ranging from scientists in labs to a global sales force.
About Boehringer IngelheimInnovative medicines for people and animals have for more than 130 years been what the research-driven pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim stands for. Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the pharmaceutical industry's top 20 companies and to this day remains family-owned. Day by day, some 50,000 employees create value through innovation for the three business areas human pharmaceuticals, animal health and biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing. In 2016, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of around 15.9 billion euros. With more than three billion euros, R&D expenditure corresponds to 19.6 percent of net sales.
Social responsibility comes naturally to Boehringer Ingelheim. That is why the company is involved in social projects such as the "Making More Health" initiative. Boehringer Ingelheim also actively promotes workforce diversity and benefits from its employees' different experiences and skills. Furthermore, the focus is on environmental protection and sustainability in everything the company does.