by +Mike Poller – - Two heads really are better than one… Collaboration is where many of the “eureka” moments come from in the life sciences. And now, three of Florida’s “big dogs” in biotech have formalized their collaborative efforts on personalized medicine.
Last year, Jackson Lab pulled out of a proposed project that had the potential to make Florida the center of advancement in personalized medicine. Today, Florida’s home-grown biotech leaders are determined to create a critical mass on their own…
Sanford-Burnham, Moffitt and Florida Hospital have announced they will collaborate on the creation of a Personalized Medicine Partnership of Florida (PMP Florida). This new partnership will conduct collaborative research to accelerate discovery and develop new treatments primarily in the areas of cancer and metabolic diseases.
PMP Florida will create working partnerships among Florida-based centers of excellence in medical research and clinical care. Together, the organizations will develop and utilize new molecular and genomic technologies to discover, translate and personalize interventions for preventing and treating debilitating diseases, including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, more efficiently to improve health care outcomes while reducing costs.
PMP Florida will leverage Moffitt’s Total Cancer Care™ to develop similar research and clinical protocols in other disease areas including metabolic diseases. The partnership will hasten the discovery and development of new treatments by bringing together the complementary strengths of
- Florida Hospital’s large patient population and clinical research expertise;
- Sanford-Burnham’s fundamental research expertise and technology platforms;
- Moffitt’s biospecimen bank, data warehouse and personalized medicine capabilities
“As a statewide resource for cancer research and treatment Moffitt seeks to foster relationships such as these to maximize the state’s investment in the overall health and well-being of patients,” said William S. Dalton, Ph.D., M.D., CEO and center director of Moffitt. “We feel this partnership will enhance Florida’s national and international reputation in the discovery, translation, delivery and dissemination of care.”
Total Cancer Care is a treatment path that begins by mapping the more than 30,000 genes that make up a tumor to find its own unique genetic fingerprint. Through personalized medicine, Moffitt is working to create individualized therapies that are specific to each patient’s type of cancer, and the way each person responds to the disease and treatment therapies. The approach includes medical, nutritional, psychological, social and physical considerations.
Collaborations between research and clinical organizations are increasing as a means to access complementary resources, attract more sizable grant revenues and enhance the translation of laboratory research to clinical application.
“PMP Florida is a multi-institutional model for combining research and clinical care expertise to advance personalized medical care. Sanford-Burnham will deploy our most advanced technologies to discover molecular signatures of disease that can provide insight for determining appropriate therapeutic interventions,” said John C. Reed, MD, Ph.D., and CEO, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. “The technology platforms, collections of patient samples, and medical information sharing create a powerful combination for improving clinical outcomes and reducing health care costs.”
Through PMP Florida, researchers at the partnering institutions will access a robust research and clinical care infrastructure. Bio-samples representing a variety of diseases will be derived from Florida Hospital’s expansive patient population. Pilot projects will utilize Moffitt’s genome mapping, information systems and clinical research protocols developed through Total Cancer Care. The research will be empowered by Sanford-Burnham’s scientific expertise in genomics and metabolomics technology platforms.
“PMP Florida is a unique partnership including three organizations with very complementary areas of expertise and experience,” said Dr. David Moorhead, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Florida Hospital. “Moffitt has demonstrated world class experience and competency in acquiring, categorizing and storing biologic specimens. Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute is renowned for its internationally recognized scientific faculty, multiple sophisticated diagnostic platforms and a commitment to transforming basic science research into clinically available treatments. Florida Hospital is the largest hospital in Florida with broad, innovative and superior clinical expertise. Together, our organizations will have the potential to quickly and successfully advance the scientific development and availability of personalized medicine and to benefit the economic development of our communities.”
One of the objectives of the partnership is to attract industry clients, including pharmaceutical and biotech companies, who will want to utilize this unique resource for discovery and development of new advances in health care. This partnership will exemplify how personalized medicine discoveries made in research labs will improve health care in hospitals, clinics and medical offices in Florida and nationally. Florida will now be competing with some of the industry’s biggest players–Jackson Lab’s new Connecticut facility and New York’s biotech initiative (among others)–for talent, dollars and those “eureka” moments.