BOSTON, April 7, 2015 – The search to discover and validate the first-ever clinical biomarker to diagnose and treat pancreatic cancer is at the foundation of a new, cross-sector collaboration. Berg, a biopharmaceutical company committed to uncovering health solutions through a data-driven, biological research approach; the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, and the Pancreatic Cancer Research Team (PCRT) managed by Cancer Research And Biostatistics (CRAB) announced today they will work together to eradicate the disease.
According to The National Cancer Institute, nearly 47,000 Americans were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2014, a disease from which only 6.7 percent will survive five years. “Pancreatic cancer will become the No. 2 cause of cancer death in the United States within five years, surpassing both breast and colon cancer,” said James Moser, MD, director of the research team for BIDMC’s new Pancreas and Liver Institute and an Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.
“Finding a new biomarker will bring real hope to patients with pancreatic cancer. Currently, 70 percent of people with even the smallest pancreatic tumors pass up potentially life-saving treatments. We believe our new collaboration with Berg and the Pancreatic Cancer Research Team represents the dawn of the kind precision medicine needed to beat this terrible disease.”
Each organization brings enormous capabilities to the collaboration. BIDMC and its Cancer Center are home to one of the nation’s flagship clinical and translational research programs for pancreatic cancer, providing coordinated, multidisciplinary, patient-centered care for adults with cancerous and non-cancerous tumors that affect the liver, the biliary system, and the pancreas.
The PCRT, a group of leading researchers dedicated to the treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer, is a 48-site multinational network of cancer centers and expert scientists founded in 2003 to cure pancreatic cancer. It is chaired by Ramesh Ramanathan, MD, a faculty member at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.
CRAB will provide guidance and infrastructure to coordinate the appropriate samples and relevant clinical data needed to discover and clinically validate the pancreatic cancer biomarkers, under the direction of John Crowley, PhD, CRAB founder, Board Chair and Chief of Strategic Alliances.
Together, the BIDMC Cancer Center and PCRT will design clinical trials and provide both healthy and treated pancreatic tissue, bio-fluids, and treatment results from patients to Berg for analysis using Berg’s Interrogative Biology™ platform, which can synthesize trillions of data points per sample.
Ramanathan and Crowley will introduce Berg’s lead cancer drug, BPM 31510, into Phase II clinical trials for metastatic pancreatic cancer at more than 48 PCRT sites around the world. BPM 31510 is one of the first cancer drugs to be guided by artificial intelligence and works by reprogramming the metabolism of cancer cells, allowing them to die.
“I am so honored to work with world-leading colleagues to truly offer hope to the patients and families while we learn more about cancer towards our goal of finding cures. We’re taking a true precision medicine approach to understand and treat a disease that is one of the most deadly cancers and affects so many families,” said Niven R. Narain, Co-Founder, President and Chief Technology Officer of Berg. “We will employ Berg’s Interrogative Biologytm Platform, which merges biology with technology, to match the right patients to the right drugs based on the patient’s responses and most importantly be able to detect this silent disease earlier so that effective treatments can lead to longer survival.”
The teams in this unique partnership will share their enormous talents to cure pancreatic cancer. “CRAB is dedicated to fighting pancreatic cancer, and we have strengthened that commitment with the best team of physicians in the field with the PCRT,” said Crowley. “Berg’s unique technologies and the vast reach of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Team network will provide every opportunity to make a difference against this deadly cancer. Dr. Ramanathan joins me with the wholehearted support of the PCRT team in this exciting partnership with Berg.”
Berg, is a biopharmaceutical company with divisions that include Analytics, Pharma, Biosystems and Diagnostics. Our research focus seeks to understand how alterations in metabolism relate to disease onset. We have uncovered key insight into metabolic control factors and namely into underlying elements in the Warburg Hypothesis. The company has a deep pipeline of early-stage technologies in CNS diseases and metabolic diseases that complement its late-stage clinical trial activity in cancer and prevention of chemotoxicity. Armed with the use of the discovery platform that translates biological output into viable therapeutics and a robust biomarker library, Berg is poised to realize its pursuit of a healthier tomorrow. For additional information, please visit www.berghealth.com.
About the Berg Interrogative Biology™ Platform
Berg’s application of machine-learning (Artificial Intelligence) in biology and medicine allows for a combination of systems biology and systems engineering leading to well defined answers on human health. The Berg Interrogative Biology™ platform integrates molecular data directly from a patient with clinical and demographic information to learn predictive patterns. The platform has the potential to provide the physician with actionable information to recommend efficient and safe treatment pathways, insurance companies with health economics analyses to develop more relevant formulary and governments with a data ecosystem for financial modeling of healthcare needs of the population.
About the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)
The Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a clinical, research and educational organization with the goal of curing cancer. Multidisciplinary teams of physicians collaborate to design and deliver an individual care plan for each patient. US News & World Report recognizes BIDMC as one of the best cancer hospitals in the United States. The Cancer Center is committed to advancing the frontiers of cancer science and compassionate care.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding. BIDMC is in the community with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, Anna Jaques Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Lawrence General Hospital, Signature Healthcare, Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare, Community Care Alliance and Atrius Health. BIDMC is also clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and Hebrew Senior Life and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and The Jackson Laboratory. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit www.bidmc.org.
About Cancer Research And Biostatistics (CRAB) and the Pancreatic Cancer Research Team (PCRT)
CRAB is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help conquer cancer and other diseases through the application of biostatistical principles and innovative data management methods. CRAB provides a complete suite of cancer clinical trial services including the design of therapeutic and prevention trials, customized electronic data capture platforms, and data management and statistical services from clinical protocol design to final data analysis and presentation.
Founded by leaders in pancreatic cancer clinical research, the PCRT is a consortium of more than 45 clinics and leading research institutions worldwide and serves as a premiere resource for the latest pancreatic cancer clinical trials. Acquired by CRAB in 2014, the PCRT provides a valuable collaborator for biotech and pharmaceutical companies looking to develop new agents or diagnostics for patients with pancreas cancer. This network provides the world’s most coordinated effort dedicated to rapidly translating research discoveries into new treatments and care.