Yonsei Cancer Center and Novartis to Co-Develop Cancer Drugs

■ Yonsei Research in Media /

Yonsei Cancer Center and Novartis to Co-Develop Cancer Drugs

As the first instance for South Korean hospitals, Yonsei Cancer Center partners with the multinational pharmaceutical company to develop new drug from the beginning stage


The Yonsei Cancer Center has joined with multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis to develop new cancer treatment drugs. It is the first instance of a South Korean hospital partnering with a multinational pharmaceutical company as early in the process of drug development as the beginning stage of identifying new drug candidates.

Yonsei University Health System President & CEO Do-Heum Yoon announced last August that Novartis had appointed Yonsei Cancer Center as its Asia Pacific regional research hub. Yoon elaborated that the Center is Novartis’ the first translational research collaboration hub for the Asia Pacific region. The Center not only conducts clinical trials, but also partners with Novartis from the early stages of drug development. In the past, multinational pharmaceutical companies like Novartis have usually designated American and European university hospitals as their research centers to identify drug candidates and conduct pre-clinical studies.

Novartis’ rare designation choice is credited to the outstanding evaluation that Yonsei Cancer Center received in research infrastructure and productivity, according to the Center. Yonsei University College of Medicine Oncology Professor Byeong Chul Cho has been working together with Novartis to develop drug treatments for ALK positive lung cancer. Cho presumed, “the close relationship we have built with Novartis over the past seven years of research has earned us this opportunity.”

The Yonsei Cancer Center is involved in drug candidate research for lung cancer from the pre-clinical studies phase. The Center is responsible for verifying toxicity in human patients through in vitro and in vivo testing, and then tracking the effects of treatment. After passing the pre-clinical stage, the Center will be the actor to establish a clinical research protocol for South Korea and the Asia Pacific region. A hospital representative affirmed, “Profits from drugs that are approved for the market as a result of these clinical trials will be shared with Novartis.”

In addition to lung cancer treatments, the Yonsei Cancer Center is also set to collaborate in identifying cancer immunotherapy candidate drugs to treat advanced solid tumors and develop targeted cell therapy drugs.

Updated in Feb 2018
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