Collaborating for a Cure
Cancer remains a present day scourge of the earth as it continues to inflict pain, suffering and even death to individuals across nations without partiality to race, age or religion. While there has been some success in treating certain types of cancer, the struggle is still on to find a cure. Researchers in Israel are looking to immunotherapy, which uses a person’s own immune system to fight off the disease. Tel Aviv based Compugen discovered that the human body possesses “checkpoint targets” that are capable of suppressing the immune system. So just when a person is diagnosed with cancer and needs a strong immune system that will attack the cancer cells, the immune system is helplessly suppressed. Compugen scientists are working on therapeutic antibodies that will reactivate the body’s response system to tumors. They want to create a strong and active immune system that will attack the invading cells rather than failing at the time of need.
Bayer Jumps into the Picture
Bayer HealthCare, the US based pharmaceutical giant, took notice of the Israeli research. As one of the leading companies in the world working in the medical products industry, they want to be on top of any new findings or health-related innovations. Envisioning the effect that Compugen’s work in immunology will have on cancer, they are jumping on board. For their part in the joint effort to research, develop and bring to market therapeutic proteins and antibodies needed in oncology and immunology, they put $10 million into Compugen’s bank account. And that is only the beginning, because the deal can amount to more than $500 million when taking considering milestone payments and royalties on sales of the finished product.
Achieving Long-term Results
According to Anat Cohen –Dayag, who is the CEO and President of Compugen, the medical community already recognizes the specific areas of immune checkpoints involved in cancer immunotherapy. Building on that research, she looks forward to collaborating with Bayer to develop a revolutionary treatment. As opposed to conventional therapies, which can only target cancer cells, this new approach is expected to give long term relief to those suffering from cancer, and with fewer instances of recurrence.