NIH Partners with Leading Biopharma Companies for Cancer Immunotherapy

Published on: 

NIH has entered a five-year, $215-million collaboration with leading biopharmaceutical companies to advance the development of cancer immunotherapies.

On Oct. 12, 2017, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched a collaboration with 11 leading biopharmaceutical companies known as the Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies (PACT) to advance development of immunotherapies for cancer. The partnership is a five-year public-private research collaboration totaling $215 million that is part of the Cancer Moonshot research initiative set in motion in 2016 under the Obama Administration.

PACT will initially aim to identify, develop, and validate robust biomarkers to advance new immunotherapy treatments for cancer. Research will also integrate immune and other related oncology biomarkers into clinical trials by defining a set of standardized biomarkers to be tested across a variety of studies.

This approach is expected to consistently generate data, uniform and harmonized assays to support data reproducibility, comparability of data across trials, and discovery and validation of new biomarkers for immunotherapy and related combinations.  The partnership will also facilitate information sharing by all stakeholders to better coordinate clinical efforts, align investigative approaches, reduce duplication, and enable more high-quality trials to be conducted. It will be managed by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), with FDA serving in an advisory role.

Partners include AbbVie, Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Roche’s Genentech, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, and Pfizer. Additional support has been provided by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association. The 11 partner organizations will contribute up to $1 million per year for five years through the FNIH for a total private sector contribution of $55 million. NIH will contribute $160 million over the five years of the partnership, pending availability of funds.


“We have seen dramatic responses from immunotherapy, often eradicating cancer completely for some cancer patients,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, in an agency press release.  “We need to bring that kind of success-and hope-for more people and more types of cancers, and we need to do it quickly.   A systematic approach like PACT will help us to achieve success faster.”

Source: National Institutes of Health