Biopharmaceutical firm Berg is joining forces with two prominent Harvard-affiliated medical research institutions, the Pancreatic Cancer Research Team (PCRT) and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), to launch Project Survival.
All three organizations will work together to find the first-ever biomarker associated with pancreatic cancer and to develop therapies for the disease based on these findings.
In a phone interview with Drug Discovery & Development, Berg's President, Co-Founder, and Chief Technology Officer Niven R. Narain touted the benefits of the collaboration saying, "This is the first time in history using a precision medicine method will give us an excellent understanding of pancreatic cancer."
Here is how this partnership will work:
PCRT's researchers will lay the necessary groundwork for assembling samples and appropriate clinical data for locating and verifying these pancreatic cancer biomarkers.
Next, BIDMC and PCRT will plan clinical trials and initiate phase 2 studies for BPM 31510, Berg's lead drug candidate for metastatic pancreatic cancer. The tests will be conducted at all 48 PCRT sites.
The medication, BPM 31510, is managed by artificial intelligence and is capable of altering cancer cell metabolism, according to the press release.
Each organization will provide Berg with healthy and treated pancreatic tissue, bio-fluids, and treatment results to be analyzed using the company's Interrogative Biology Platform. Narain told Drug Discovery & Development this tool can analyze "14 trillion data points" from biological samples to match the best treatments for every patient.
"We'll be able to diagnose this disease much earlier than before, which is important because it's a silent killer," Narain added.
The National Cancer Institute reports that 48,960 people will be diagnosed with this pancreatic cancer in 2015, and this disease will account for about 7 percent of cancer deaths.
Narain emphasized the project's tentative timeline. "It is on a rolling schedule, but the surgeries should be completed within the first two years, and we should have a better understanding of the lead candidate biomarker by the third year."