Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Harvard and Merck collaborating to discover new immuno-oncology targets  


By David Schwartz
Published: August 19th, 2019

Harvard University and Merck are launching a collaboration that will provide research funding for up to four years to support immuno-oncology research led by Arlene Sharpe, MD, PhD, at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Sharpe, who chairs the HMS Department of Immunology, will collaborate with researchers at Merck on a major project aiming to discover novel aspects of the immune system that could be targeted in cancer treatment.

“This collaborative project aims to discover and validate novel regulators of immune responses,” said Dr. Sharpe. “Immunotherapies such as checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized the treatment of cancer, but my lab is deeply interested in understanding why some patients do not respond or develop resistance to those interventions. My hope is that by defining mechanisms that inhibit immune responses to tumors, we will identify very important druggable targets and new approaches to improve cancer immunotherapy.”

“Crucial insights into patient responses and outcomes may be gained through the study of fundamental biological mechanisms,” added Isaac Kohlberg, Harvard’s Chief Technology Development Officer and Senior Associate Provost. “The complexity and promise of immuno-oncology presents a prime opportunity for Harvard’s top scientists to advance discovery through an academic-industry collaboration. Through this project, the Sharpe Lab is setting its sight on innovations that may contribute to dramatic improvements in patient care.”

Under the agreement, negotiated by Harvard’s Office of Technology Development, Merck will have the option to negotiate an exclusive license to innovations arising from the research collaboration.

“Collaboration with leading scientific groups is an integral part of Merck’s discovery strategy,” said Dr. Nick Haining, vice president for oncology discovery at Merck Research Laboratories. “We look forward to working with Dr. Sharpe’s team to investigate new ways to harness the immune system for therapeutic advances.”

Source: EurekAlert!

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

Twitter Facebook Linkedin Pinterest Email

No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment