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Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis Partners with Leading Organizations in an Alliance to Find New MS Treatments

Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis (ACP-MS) recently announced the launch of Orion Bionetworks, a multi-institution cooperative alliance that is unlocking the power of shared data and predictive modeling to help transform our understanding of diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and accelerate the search for cures.

Orion Bionetworks is a program of the Marin Community Fund, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, and is funded by Janssen Research & Development, LLC, a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company, which has provided a $5.4 million scientific sponsorship as part of its Healthy Minds program for the first phase of this effort. Initially, this cooperative alliance will focus on integrating clinical, biomarker and imaging data with rich real-world patient data from existing, independent databases of over 7,000 people with MS into a causal computational disease model.

“We are delighted to collaborate with such a dynamic group of innovators to launch Orion Bionetworks,” said Robert McBurney, Chief Executive Officer of ACP-MS. “Orion is demonstrating that a predictive disease modeling alliance that uses real-world patient data can have an unprecedented ability to drive toward better treatments and, ultimately, cures for multiple sclerosis and other devastating brain disorders. Our involvement in the alliance is a direct result of the remarkable effort that ACP-MS, the staff of 10 MS clinics nationwide, and people with MS and related diseases have made to create the open-access ACP Repository of biosamples and data.”

ACP-MS will be contributing to the alliance its expertise in MS and experience with its innovative approach to highly collaborative research in MS and related disorders. Additionally, it will provide extensive clinical and epidemiological data from over 3,000 participants in the Repository program along with the almost 300 million molecular data points returned, to date, to the Repository database from the many academic and industrial research groups that have undertaken research with the Repository’s biosamples and data.

ACP-MS will work closely with other leading organizations in patient care, computational modeling and translational research participating in the alliance, including the Institute for Neurosciences at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, GNS Healthcare, MetaCell, and PatientsLikeMe. As part of Orion Bionetworks, ACP-MS will have access to the combined datasets and expertise of all members of the alliance and is receiving support from Orion to undertake data-mining activities in search of new knowledge that will lead to improved treatments and cures for MS and related disorders.

“Complex diseases such as MS require novel research approaches and large scale collaborations,” said Benjamin Greenberg, MD, MHS, Deputy Director of the MS Program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and ACP-MS Advisory Board Member. “The ACP Repository serves as an outstanding resource and its partnership with Orion will undoubtedly yield extremely useful insights into this complicated disease.”

Additional information on the Orion Bionetworks and partnership opportunities is available on the organization’s website, www.orionbionetworks.org.

Source: Business Wire

Orion Bionetworks: Developing Predictive Models to Power the Search for Cures

Today we announce the launch of Orion Bionetworks, a multi-institution cooperative non-profit alliance that is unlocking the power of shared data and predictive modeling to help transform our understanding of diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and accelerate the search for cures. Alliance partners include leading organizations in patient care, computational modeling, translational research, and patient advocacy: Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis, the Institute for Neurosciences at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, GNS Healthcare, MetaCell, and PatientsLikeMe. Janssen Research & Development, LLC, a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company, has provided a $5.4 million scientific sponsorship as part of its Healthy Minds program for the initial phase of this effort.

Orion Bionetworks has been established as a program of the Marin Community Foundation. Its President & CEO, Thomas Peters, Ph.D., hailed the formation of the new alliance. “We are enormously proud to welcome Orion Bionetworks within the Foundation,” said Peters. “We are confident that this blend of expertise and creativity will lead to significant scientific success.”

Key supporting partners include One Mind for Research, Morrison & Foerster, Recombinant Data, and Weber Shandwick.

A Unique Cooperative Alliance

Through Orion Bionetworks, alliance partners contribute to a communal body of knowledge in the pursuit of better disease understanding, prevention and treatment, and gain access to state-of-the-art analytical tools, technologies and inter-disciplinary expertise.

Initially, Orion Bionetworks will focus on integrating clinical, biomarker and imaging data with rich real-world patient data from existing, independent databases of over 7,000 people with MS into a causal computational disease model.

PatientsLikeMe Co-Founder and Chairman Jamie Heywood said, “This silo-breaking initiative allows data from disparate sources, including our patient network of thousands of individuals who monitor their health and share their MS symptom and treatment information, to be analyzed in a way that will transform future discoveries and maximize the benefit for all.”

Computational Modeling

Computational modeling, or biosimulation, is an emerging research platform that has the potential to transform our understanding of human biology and predict which individual or environmental factors influence the development and progression of disease. Application of sophisticated modeling and simulation technologies for drug discovery and development could help the healthcare industry overcome the current economic and product pipeline challenges it faces in a number of therapeutic areas including neuroscience.

Orion Bionetworks is creating a framework to advance causal disease models by supporting the creation of new computational tools and communities and facilitating their access to integrated, large-scale, diverse biological and clinical data from registries and repositories.

“By bringing together this multidisciplinary group of collaborators and enabling the sharing of integrated clinical and ‘omics data, Orion Bionetworks could help realize the promise of computational modeling in disease research,” said Iya Khalil, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of GNS Healthcare, one of the alliance members. “Causal models learned directly from data will help us understand the biology of the disease and predict which approach to treatment will work for individual patients. This could accelerate the search for cures.”

Advancing Understanding of Multiple Sclerosis

Orion Bionetworks’ initial focus is multiple sclerosis. MS affects over 2.5 million individuals worldwide. It is an exceedingly complex spectrum of diseases that involves both acute inflammation and chronic, progressive neurodegeneration in the brain and spinal cord. Physicians are challenged with managing patients whose course ranges from mild disease with modest levels of disability to a small number of treatment-refractory cases with profound disability. Currently, no one can predict an individual patient’s course or whether they will respond to a prescribed therapy. Further, while we can suppress the inflammatory component of MS to some extent, there is no treatment for its neurodegenerative component and no treatment that cures a patient. Thus, this unpredictable illness takes a tremendous toll on patients and their families. However, with recent advances in biomedical science and analytic methods, MS is uniquely ready for the new tools of predictive modeling, which can integrate diverse datasets and answer critical questions beyond the reach of individual research efforts.

“The path forward is clear: through Orion Bionetworks, one large dataset of patients can be explored very deeply with all available platforms to create a reference atlas of MS,” said Philip De Jager, MD, PhD, a physician researcher at the Institute for Neurosciences at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “With such an atlas of MS, we can chart a route forward towards the personalization of MS care and the targeting of MS-related neurodegeneration.”

Additional information on the organization and partnership opportunities is available on the organization’s website, www.orionbionetworks.org.

Source: Business Wire

COLTHERES Consortium Identifies Molecular Signatures Leading to Personalized Therapies

COLTHERES (the Colon Therapy Research Consortium), a collaboration of EU-based clinical centers and translational researchers, has revealed in its first interim report key results that will enable a more personalized and effective approach to be taken in treatment of colon cancer using two novel drugs; the EGFR inhibitor Cetuximab and the BRaf inhibitor Vemurafinib.

The Foundation for the NIH Biomarkers Consortium Launches A Multi-Stakeholder Atherosclerosis Modeling Project

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) Biomarkers Consortium announces that it is launching a two-year effort to use computer modeling to better understand heart disease and the potential effectiveness of medicines used to treat it. The project will integrate large amounts of available information on different measures (or “biomarkers”) of atherosclerosis.

GNS, Bristol-Myers Squibb to Identify Immuno-Inflammation Biomarkers

GNS Healthcare, Inc., (GNS) the leading healthcare analytics company focused on enabling personalized medicine to improve human health, today announced that it has entered into a collaboration with Bristol Myers-Squibb Company focused on the discovery of novel disease biology and biomarkers in the area of immuno-inflammation. Utilizing its supercomputer-driven REFS (reverse-engineering and forward-simulation) platform, GNS will use clinical and molecular information from a Bristol-Myers Squibb clinical trial to build computer models in a hypothesis-free, unbiased manner that will be simulated to identify key molecular mechanisms. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.