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Yale-Gilead Partnership to Investigate Genetic, Molecular Basis of Cancer

By a GenomeWeb Staff Reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Gilead Sciences and the Yale School of Medicine today announced a collaboration to explore the genetic basis and molecular mechanisms of cancer in order to develop new cancer therapies.

The deal is initially for four years but may be extended for up to 10 years. Gilead will provide $40 million in initial funding to support research and basic science infrastructure development. Its contribution could reach $100 million if the collaboration is extended to the 10-year timeframe.

Under the terms of the deal, researchers from Gilead and Yale will work to identify new molecular targets in order to better understand cancer and to develop new treatments, including those to overcome drug resistance experienced by some patients with current therapies.

Gilead will have the first option to license Yale inventions resulting from the agreement.

"Based on the strong track record of the Yale cancer research team, I am confident this collaboration will lead to important advances in the understanding of the genetic basis of cancer as we collectively seek to develop novel targeted therapies for patients in areas of unmet medical need," Norbert Bischofberger, Gilead's executive vice president of R&D and CSO, said in a statement.

Research projects will be chosen by a joint steering committee led by Joseph Schlessinger, chair of Yale's department of pharmacology and director of the Cancer Biology Institute at West Campus. The Yale Center for Genome Analysis at West Campus will analyze DNA of a variety of tumor types to identify mutations associated with cancers.

Schlessinger's team will use the data to investigate the effects of gene mutations on cancer and to identify methods to block or mitigate progression of the disease. This effort includes identifying small molecules that may serve as the basis for new therapies.