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Sanofi-aventis and the Belfer Institute of Applied Cancer Science at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Establish Powerful Alliance in Oncology

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Sanofi-aventis and the Belfer Institute of Applied Cancer Science at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston, Massachusetts, announced today that they have entered into a collaboration and licensce agreement to identify novel oncology targets for the development of new therapeutic agents directed at such targets and related biomarkers.

Research at the Belfer Institute is focused on understanding the fundamental mechanisms of cancers, discovering and validating therapeutic targets and their clinical context in sophisticated model systems, enabling development of drug response biomarkers and supporting the discovery and development of innovative cancer treatments.

Under the terms of the agreement, sanofi-aventis will have access to Belfer’s cancer target identification and validation platform and translational medicine capabilities, and an exclusive license option to develop, manufacture and commercialize the innovative compounds directed at the targets identified and validated under the research collaboration. In return, Dana Farber will receive $33 million in upfront payment and research funding for a minimum of three years. Dana Farber will also be entitled to preclinical, clinical, and commercial milestone payments and royalties on sales of the commercialized products.

“At the Belfer Institute, our mission is to enable the discovery of novel more effective therapeutics for cancer patients”, said Ronald DePinho, MD, Director of Dana-Farber’s Belfer Institute and Professor of Medicine and Genetics at Harvard Medical School. “By combining our expertise in cancer genetics and translational medicine with sanofi-aventis’ excellent drug discovery and development track record, this alliance has great potential to change the practice of cancer medicine.”

“Translating research findings from academia to developing cancer drugs in the industry is a complex task that requires the collaboration of the best in the field,” declared Debasish Roychowdhury, M.D. Senior Vice President, Head of Global Oncology Division, sanofi-aventis. “We have an obligation to discover new medicines. This innovative collaboration structure with the Belfer Institute, an entirely novel organization, will strengthen sanofi-aventis Oncology’s commitment to accomplish our goals.”

Source: Sanofi-aventis