SPONSORED FEATURE: ASTRAZENECA
advanced NSCLC. within the company, customizing our approach to individual
IRESSA is currently approved in 81 countries, with partnership opportunities. The result is a more science-driven
indications varying across countries. In the EU, IRESSA has approach to business development.
been made available as the first personalized medicine for In December 2012, we announced a partnership in China
adults with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC with with Hutchison MediPharma (HMP) to co-develop and
activating mutations. Outside the EU, indications are being commercialize an oncology compound (volitinib) that has now
sought or expanded from the pre-treated setting to include moved into Phase I studies. This is the first clinical-stage
first-line patients whose tumours harbour activating compound to be directly licensed from a China biotech
mutations of the EGFR–TK inhibitor. In the US, we have no company by a major multinational pharmaceutical company
plans to pursue regulatory approval for IRESSA. with plans to develop and commercialize it internationally.
Learning from IRESSA, we have made Asia a core element of HMP will lead volitinib’s development locally in China.
our R&D strategy. In 2007, with an initial investment of In February 2013, we expanded our research efforts in
US$100 million, we opened the AstraZeneca Innovation Russia through a collaboration with the N N Petrov Institute of
Centre China (ICC) in Shanghai. ICC scientists aim to help Oncology. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in
develop therapies that target gastric, liver and lung cancers Russia, with mortality rates amongst the highest in the world
which are more prevalent and have higher mortality rates in with approximately 300,000 estimated deaths each year. The
Asian patients. collaboration involves the first-in-patient enrolment for two
pioneering new studies – IGNITE and ASSESS – that aim to
Partnering to deliver targeted medicines advance knowledge in diagnostic testing in NSCLC across
As scientific partnerships and external alliances are a core diverse geographical locations.
priority for us, AstraZeneca aims to plays a key role is building ‰ IGNITE will enrol patients from Russia and the Asia-Pacific
strong networks of partners and collaborators across the region (n=3,500), where testing rates are low, primarily
spectrum of academia, governments, scientific organizations, investigating the mutation frequency in advanced NSCLC
patient groups, and other biopharmaceutical companies with patients with adenocarcinoma (cancer of an epithelium
the aim of speeding-up the delivery of high-quality, targeted that originates in glandular tissue) and non-
medicines. For example in Asia, we are working closely with adenocarcinoma.
local companies and academics to develop more meaningful, ‰ ASSESS will focus on patients from Europe and Japan
innovative products and therapies to address the unmet (n=1,300), where testing is more established, primarily
medical needs of Asian populations. Our academic partners evaluating the reliability of EGFR mutation status obtained
include: via tissue/cytology and plasma-based testing methods.
‰ Fudan University, Peking University and Shanghai Chest
Hospital in China; New boundaries
‰ The National Cancer Centre, Keio University and the Oncology is a fast-paced, exciting and evolving therapeutic
Shizuoka Cancer Centre in Japan; area. By embracing cutting-edge science and taking a dynamic
‰ The National Cancer Centre and the National University approach to R&D, we are overcoming today’s intellectual,
Hospital in Singapore; technical and scientific challenges to deliver the cancer drugs
‰ Seoul National University and the Asan Medical Center in of tomorrow.
South Korea. We continue to build our robust pipeline of small and large
molecule compounds to advance the treatment of cancer. We
Around the world, we are partnering with other are striving to establish clinically relevant biomarkers to
biopharmaceutical companies in pre-competitive measure the progress of the disease or the effects of
collaborations to advance the science and technology of drug treatment. We are exploring avenues to better understand
development. molecular pathways that can help us identify patients that are
Our approach to external partnerships allows us to access likely to respond to treatment. We also are investigating the
the best science that exists outside of our labs. Our R&D and potential of our compounds in combination with other novel or
business development people have become close existing therapies.
collaborators, hunting in pairs for the next good idea. This new By pushing new boundaries in redefining cancer, we hope to
model of working together allows us to better leverage the discover new medicines that will make a meaningful difference
scientific expertise and extensive deal-making experience in patients’ lives. l
CANCER CONTROL 2013 35