Stanford's Innovative Medicines Accelerator and The Invus Group Collaborate to Attack GBM
An important and visionary partnership featuring multiple members of Team Julie
The Innovative Medicines Accelerator (IMA) at Stanford University and The Invus Group announced that they are collaborating to attack GBM with a novel public-private partnership aimed at discovering and developing new medicines.
I lack the words to adequately tell you how excited we at MissionGBM are about this partnership! Why?
Here are a few reasons:
Stanford’s IMA is a unique organization within academia that is structured more like industry drug discovery and early development group. This is important because the focus is on translating discoveries into the clinic as fast as possible instead of just doing basic research to burnish publication records.
The people in the IMA and the Stanford School of Medicine are world class, and include some of the top Drug Hunters that we know: Paul Mischel, MD, Nathanael Gray, PhD, Chaitin Khosla, PhD (Director) and others.
The Invus Group is a $10 billion evergreen fund with a long track record of investing to produce breakthrough results in multiple industries including healthcare and life sciences. The fund invests across the entire spectrum of private and public strategies through the dedicated efforts of Partners such as Khalil Barrage and Ben Tsai.
There are five (5) members of Team Julie involved in this deal. (Hint: We have not said much about the members of the Team from the investment community, but that will be changing soon).
This is the Direction that Brain Cancer R&D and Care Delivery will be Heading
At MissionGBM, we have previously written about the historical lack of adequate investment capital to move the needle in brain cancer R&D and care delivery. We have also hinted that we intend to change the historical model by invoking proven and new models of healthcare entrepreneurship to bring the best ideas and significant investment capital to the battle. Emphasis: SIGNIFICANT capital.
As 2023 unfolds, we intend to announce other innovative partnerships as well as company creation across the full spectrum of sorely needed brain cancer treatment advances:
Enhanced Molecular and Cellular Diagnostics. In order to design and implement N-of-1 personalized treatment protocols, clinicians must be armed with better diagnostics to characterize the tumor tissue, the tumor microenvironment, and the tumor responses to therapy.
An Expanded Brain Cancer Toolbox. It is not enough to thoroughly understand the molecular and genetic profile of a brain tumor, if the tools do not exist to attack the tumor cells based on the tumor profile. There are obvious targets in brain cancers that lack brain-penetrant, effective and tolerable targeted drugs. The Stanford IMA-Invus partnership is designed to drug some of these priority targets in GBM. Sorry - we are not at liberty to discuss the targets and medicinal chemistry publicly, but we are excited…and cannot wait for the results to begin emerging.
Regulatory Framework that Supports the Combination Clinical Trials that are Necessary in Brain Cancers. Brain cancers are relatively rare diseases (approximately 30,000 total cases and 12-15,000 GBM cases per year in the US) that tend to have aggressive clinical courses and poor outcomes. In addition, brain cancers do not lend themselves to effective monotherapy treatment protocols. Thus, designing clinical trials in the conventional manner in which a single therapeutic candidate is compared against SoC in randomized trials is almost guaranteed to fail due to lack of adequate patients, who can be rapidly identified, consented and randomized into trials prior to rapid degradation of their clinical status. Combination trials are needed based on treatment protocols matched to a patient’s individual tumor and clinical profile. Historical Combo vs the Parts designs will fail due to inadequate numbers of patients who can be recruited fast enough.
Payer Models Must Change. By definition, the aggregated N-of-1, combination treatment protocols that we are advocating (and which have worked so well for Julie) will initially be experimental and Off Label until enough real world outcomes and healthcare economics data can be collected. Payers can and will say, “Denied” until reams of data are available. But there may be alternative, innovative models which we will talk about in the months ahead.
The Mission: “N-of 1 on Behalf of All”
As a husband and father, I am fortunate and grateful that my 30+ years of Biotech experience and global relationships permitted us to quickly assemble Team Julie and design the personalized treatment protocols that have yielded very favorable results for her.
As a longtime Biotech executive, investor and entrepreneur, it annoys the Bejeezus out of me that other patients have no straightforward path to access the resources that can change their clinical courses for the better.
There ought to be a better way! Let’s do for Brain Cancer what we have historically done in other Therapeutic Areas.
Of course, our Mission will require years of hard work and more aggregate capital than the entire brain cancer field has seen in the last several decades combined, but that is the way we like it. We would be bored if the problems were univariate and simple…and they would have already been solved by now.
If we are successful, it is not out of the realm of possibility that the results will be better patient outcomes at lower overall treatment costs because the personalized therapeutic protocols are carefully matched to each patient’s molecular, genetic and clinical profile.
So endeth the short and failed retirement of Scott Rakestraw.