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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Boehringer Ingelheim accelerates development of high potential compounds in lung cancer

Health Industry Hub | April 16, 2021 |

Pharma News: Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre announced the extension and expansion of their joint Virtual Research and Development Centre (VRDC) to explore new molecules from Boehringer Ingelheim’s KRAS (Kirsten rat sarcoma) and TRAILR2 (TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand receptor 2) portfolios for the potential treatment of lung cancer, particularly non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

“Our collaboration with MD Anderson strengthens our determination to find solutions for the most difficult-to-treat cancers, and this latest commitment marks an important step forward, especially in our holistic KRAS program,” said Norbert Kraut, Ph.D., Head of Global Cancer Research at Boehringer Ingelheim. “We are delighted to extend our collaboration with MD Anderson. With our shared dedication to patients and like-minded approach to innovation, we have the potential to bring the medicines to lung and gastrointestinal cancer patients that they so much need.”

The collaboration already has resulted in a number of joint publications, conference presentations (including at the 2021 AACR Annual Meeting) and clinical trial activities. Boehringer Ingelheim is pursuing a comprehensive mutant KRAS-directed effort with multiple programs expected to enter the VRDC with MD Anderson.

“We are proud to expand our work with Boehringer Ingelheim in a very exciting drug-development space – advancing novel targeted therapies against KRAS and TRAILR2,” said Timothy Heffernan, Ph.D., Head of Oncology Research in Therapeutics Discovery at MD Anderson.

“Our collaboration is built upon a strong working relationship and complementary expertise, highlighting how an academic centre and a pharmaceutical company can strategically work together to advance innovative therapies for patients with cancer.”

KRAS is the most frequently mutated cancer-causing oncogene. One in seven of all human metastatic cancers expresses KRAS mutations, with mutation rates of more than 30% in lung adenocarcinomas, more than 40% in colorectal cancers and more than 90% in pancreatic cancers.

No approved treatments for KRAS-driven cancers exist currently, further underscoring the need for continued investment in research and development. Tumour cell-selective activation of TRAILR2 can trigger cancer cell death in indications of high medical need, including lung and gastrointestinal malignancies.


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