The Salk Institute and German oncology research company Indivumed have announced a multi-year collaboration aimed at creating a leading database and tissue biobank to enable basic and translation research for oncology and other precision medicine applications.
The agreement, whose terms were not disclosed, spells out two significant areas of collaboration for the two organizations. First, Indivumed will provide a dedicated team and resources to assist the Salk Cancer Center in the planning and acquisition of annotated cancer biospeciments to support Salk’s research projects. Second, Salk and Indivumed will identify a portfolio of research initiatives with the goal of develop a global cancer database of molecular and phenotypic data.
"Gene expression, metabolite, and protein modification are difficult—if not impossible—to compare if biospecimens have not been collected and corresponding data have not been documented in a consistent manner,” said Reuben Shaw, Ph.D, director of the Salk Cancer Center, in a press release announcing the deal. “Indivumed's controlled and rapid tissue processing will help delineate important biological differences between patient tumors. Providing our researchers with this type of platinum research resource will have a transformational impact on our research and ultimately our understanding of cancer."
The Cancer Center at Salk was established in 1970 and it one of 69 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Centers in the U.S. In 2013, it joined two other San Diego-are NCI-designated Cancer Centers, UCSD Moores Cancer Center and Sanford Burnham Cancer Center to form the San Diego National Cancer Institute Cancer Centers Council to pool resources and build upon the strength of each in the areas of basic and translational research and cancer care.
Currently the Cancer Center at Salk comprises roughly half of the institute’s research and includes 30 faculty members, 199 postdoctoral researchers, 41 graduate students and 101 research assistants.
"Over the past 30 years, researchers at the Salk Cancer Center have made some of the most important contributions to the fundamental understanding of cancer," said Hartmut Juhl, founder and CEO of Indivumed in a prepared statement. "The bedrock to the most impactful research is comprised of pristine and unbiased data. The combination of Indivumed's molecular and phenotypic data sets with cutting edge basic and translation research coined within the Salk Cancer Center will combine to create one of the world's most unique research engines."
For Hamburg, Germany-based Indivumed, the collaboration with Salk is the latest in a line of collaborations with research institutes and pharma companies. In September it partnered with clinical contract research organization Helomics and early last year announced a deal to provide tissue sample to Regeneron in support of the pharma company’s cancer research. The company also works with healthcare systems to support the collection and preservation of biospecimens, such as Maryland-based MedStar Health.