Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) announced that Yale Cancer Center has joined the International Immuno-Oncology Network (II-ON), a global peer-to-peer collaboration between Bristol-Myers Squibb and academia that aims to advance translational Immuno-Oncology (I-O) science. Formed in 2012 by Bristol-Myers Squibb, the II-ON was one of the first networks to bring academia and industry together to further the scientific understanding of I-O, and has since expanded from 10 to 16 sites across North America, Europe, Japan and Australia. Today, the partners collaborate to generate innovative I-O science, launch biology-driven trials and apply cutting-edge technologies with the goal of translating research findings into clinical trials and, ultimately, supporting efforts to improve survival outcomes across tumor types.
“The II-ON gives us the chance to work more efficiently and collaboratively with Bristol-Myers Squibb and the other II-ON academic centers to address scientific questions in I-O,” said Roy Herbst, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center of Immuno-Oncology at Yale Cancer Center and Yale’s principal investigator of the II-ON team. “The hope is this early research can someday inform clinical trials and ultimately help us to achieve our goal of transforming the way we treat people affected by cancer.”
The II-ON was formed on the foundation of three fundamental scientific pillars aimed at addressing key research priorities in I-O: understanding the mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapy; identifying patient populations likely to benefit from immunotherapy; and exploring novel combination therapies that may enhance anti-tumor response through complementary mechanisms of action. By providing a streamlined framework for peer-to-peer collaboration among global cancer research leaders, the network is able to more rapidly facilitate I-O innovation and drug discovery.
“Translational medicine and the understanding of cancer biology are foundational to our oncology R&D program, which is why we’re invested in furthering our understanding of early I-O science through the II-ON,” said Nils Lonberg, head of Oncology Biology Discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb. “By adding Yale Cancer Center to the network, we are strengthening our collective ability to address essential scientific questions and advance clinical discovery, which we hope will eventually translate to meaningful outcomes for patients.”
Bristol-Myers Squibb believes the future of cancer research is dependent on investments in science and partnerships. In addition to the II-ON, the company has invested in several other models of scientific collaboration with academic partners across the globe, including the Global Expert Centers Initiative (GECI), the Immuno-Oncology Integrated Community Oncology Network (IO-ICON) and the Oncology Academic Research (OAR) Group.
About the International Immuno-Oncology Network (II-ON)
The II-ON, formed in 2012, is a global peer-to-peer collaboration between Bristol-Myers Squibb and academia advancing the science of Immuno-Oncology (I-O) through a series of preclinical, translational and biology-focused research objectives. The research in the collaboration is focused on three fundamental scientific pillars: understanding the mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapy; identifying patient populations likely to benefit from immunotherapy; and exploring novel combination therapies that may enhance anti-tumor response through complementary mechanisms of action. The II-ON facilitates the translation of early scientific research findings into clinical trials and drug discovery, with the goal of one day introducing new treatment options into clinical practice.
In addition to Bristol-Myers Squibb, the II-ON currently comprises 16 leading cancer research institutions, including: Clinica Universidad Navarra, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, The Earle A. Chiles Research Institute (Providence Health & Services), Institut Gustave Roussy, Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori “Fondazione G. Pascale”, Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, National Cancer Center Japan, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research, University College London, The University of Chicago, West German Cancer Center/University Hospital Essen, Columbia University Medical Center, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and now, Yale Cancer Center.
Bristol-Myers Squibb & Immuno-Oncology: Advancing Oncology Research
At Bristol-Myers Squibb, patients are at the center of everything we do. Our vision for the future of cancer care is focused on researching and developing transformational Immuno-Oncology (I-O) medicines for hard-to-treat cancers that could potentially improve outcomes for these patients.
We are leading the scientific understanding of I-O through our extensive portfolio of investigational compounds and approved agents. Our differentiated clinical development program is studying broad patient populations across more than 50 types of cancers with 14 clinical-stage molecules designed to target different immune system pathways. Our deep expertise and innovative clinical trial designs position us to advance I-O/I-O, I-O/chemotherapy, I-O/targeted therapies and I-O/radiation therapies across multiple tumors and potentially deliver the next wave of therapies with a sense of urgency. We also continue to pioneer research that will help facilitate a deeper understanding of the role of immune biomarkers and how patients’ tumor biology can be used as a guide for treatment decisions throughout their journey.
We understand making the promise of I-O a reality for the many patients who may benefit from these therapies requires not only innovation on our part but also close collaboration with leading experts in the field. Our partnerships with academia, government, advocacy and biotech companies support our collective goal of providing new treatment options to advance the standards of clinical practice.
About Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.