Global pharma firms partner with Australia to find new cancer treatments

14 Jul 2021

Two global pharmaceutical companies have partnered with Australian research institutions to develop new treatments and drugs to fight cancer.

Boehringer Ingelheim to collaborate with WEHI on new cancer therapy

German pharma giant Boehringer Ingelheim is partnering with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) in Melbourne to discover and develop anti-cancer therapeutics.

The partnership combines Boehringer Ingelheim’s expertise in a new technology called targeted protein degradation with WEHI’s scientific leadership on a family of proteins known as the inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs).

The collaborative research project, led by WEHI, will leverage IAPs and the protein degradation technology to target disease-causing proteins for destruction. ‘We have the potential to bring medicines to patients that target and destroy the proteins directly responsible for cancer cell growth,’ says Dr Clive Wood, Corporate Senior Vice President and Global Head of Discovery Research at Boehringer Ingelheim. WEHI was established in 1915 and is Australia’s oldest medical research institute. It undertakes research into a wide range of diseases and their treatments, including bioinformatics, cancer biology and immunotherapy.

Pfizer partners with St Vincent’s Institute on cancer treatment

Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation and St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research (SVI) are collaborating to find future treatments for cancer that are more effective and less toxic than traditional chemotherapies.

The early-stage research aims to identify potential new small molecules that target the DNA damage response, which is common to most cancers. These small molecules may provide the basis for future cancer treatments that target specific vulnerabilities of cancers based on their genetics.

‘By exploiting the mechanisms that cause DNA damage – the very thing that starts cancer in the first place – our team hopes to be able to find new potential treatments,’ says SVI’s Associate Professor Wayne Crismani, who is leading the research. St Vincent’s Institute undertakes research into diseases such as cancer, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, infectious disease, arthritis, osteoporosis and neurodegeneration.

Contact Austrade for more information on R&D collaborations with Australian companies, universities and research institutions.