Foundation Medicine: Collaborating to bring personalised treatments to cancer patients

Personalised healthcare is transforming medical science, allowing us to deliver the right treatment to the right patient, at the right time and value. Personalised healthcare involves a detailed understanding of the biology of a disease, identifying biomarkers and developing companion diagnostics tests. Doctors can use these tests to identify which patients are most likely to respond to a particular course of treatment.

More than 80% of AstraZeneca’s clinical pipeline now follows a personalised healthcare approach and in the next eight years, around 50 of our planned drug launches will require a linked diagnostic test. Working with external partners who specialise in developing these diagnostics is critical to our continued success in this area.

 

Partnering is really important in the field of personalised healthcare. AstraZeneca’s search of biomarkers linked to drug response starts right from the outset of a drugs’ development journey and continues all the way to market. By collaborating with companies that have the best technologies and expertise in diagnostic science, we are able to generate the highest-quality companion diagnostic tools, which healthcare professionals can use to make treatment decisions.

Maria Orr Oncology Franchise Leader, IMED Personalised Healthcare and Biomarkers, AstraZeneca

One of AstraZeneca’s key collaborators is Foundation Medicine Inc., which the Oncology and Personalised Healthcare teams within AstraZeneca have been working with for the past five years.

Our original partnership was based on using FMI’s comprehensive genomic profiling platform to understand responses in our early clinical trials and help identify biomarkers for patient segmentation.  The first project we did together helped reveal the importance of somatic mutations in BRCA 1 and 2 genes for response to PARP inhibitors. We’ve also identified a series of genes involved   in homologous DNA repair beyond BRCA 1 and 2 that we believe may be important in predicting which patients may respond to this class of treatment.

 

This collaboration is special in terms of the people, the science and the culture. There's a strong foundation of trust and transparency and the teams are also very curious and passionate about following the science. Both partners are open to sharing ideas, learning more and staying curious, which makes for a productive working relationship.

Nicole St Jean Business Development Lead, Precision Medicine, Global Product and Portfolio Strategy, AstraZeneca