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Yale, Gilead Extend Cancer Collaboration

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Yale School of Medicine today said that it and Gilead Sciences have extended a research collaboration to identify the genetic and molecular bases of cancer.

The deal, originally forged in 2011, is being extended by three years with Gilead providing $30 million in additional funding to support research. The biopharmaceutical firm has first option to license Yale inventions stemming from the collaboration.

So far under the collaboration, researchers have conducted multi-disciplinary investigations into the genetic and molecular underpinnings of various cancers in order to identify new molecular targets for the development of therapies, including those that can overcome drug resistance experienced with current targeted therapies.

Yale and Gilead scientists have sequenced different cancer types, revealing several recurring mutations. Also, Yale has begun biochemical and pharmacological studies to identify compounds that may lead to therapeutic candidates. The partners will expand those efforts and focus on finding a single therapy that could be used on multiple cancers, Yale said.

Joseph Schlessinger, the chairman of Yale's pharmacology department and director of the Cancer Biology Institute, chairs the joint steering committee that selects research projects for the collaboration. In a statement, he said, "The pace of scientific exchange and innovation spurred by our work together is unlike anything I have seen before. If our accomplishments over the past three years are any indication, we are confident that our future endeavors will significantly advance our current understanding and treatment of cancer."