Public Release:  Industry, academic researchers gather for Accelerating Cancer Cures Research Symposium

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation

South San Francisco, CA (March 11, 2014) - Today, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation held the third annual Accelerating Cancer Cures Research Symposium. The yearly meeting is designed to encourage collaboration between cancer researchers in industry and their counterparts in academia in order to sidestep many of the issues that currently impede progress against cancer. Hosted by Genentech, the meeting included academic researchers from top universities and research institutions as well as scientists from Eli Lilly and Company, Celgene, Merck, Pfizer, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Co.

Accelerating Cancer Cures is a unique collaboration between Damon Runyon, a prestigious cancer charity that supports cutting-edge young cancer researchers, and leading biopharmaceutical companies. The goal of this multi-million dollar initiative is to rebuild the ranks of specially trained physician-scientists who conduct both the innovative laboratory research necessary to identify new therapeutics and the clinical trials to bring these new treatments to patients. By collaborating on this initiative with their competitors in the marketplace, the companies involved demonstrate their shared commitment to driving the next generation of breakthroughs in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Richard Gaynor, MD, Senior Vice President of Global Development/Medical Affairs at Eli Lilly, Damon Runyon Board member, and Chair of Accelerating Cancer Cures, opened the meeting by welcoming its attendees and stressing the urgency of collaboration between academia and industry at this crucial moment in cancer research. Richard H. Scheller, PhD, Executive Vice President of Research and Early Development at Genentech, delivered a keynote address about Genentech's focus and the need to foster new oncology drugs in the earliest stages of their development. Participants also heard research presentations from selected Damon Runyon scientists and enjoyed industry roundtable discussions on career development and bridging the gap between academia and industry. Sandra Horning, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Head, Global Product Development and Nancy Valente, MD, Vice President, Product Development and Global Head, Hematology Development, both of Genentech, provided opening and closing remarks.

"It is extraordinary that industry competitors have come together to address a major obstacle to developing new treatments for cancer patients," said Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation President and CEO, Lorraine Egan. "Through Accelerating Cancer Cures, we are ensuring that the best young physician-scientists can continue to be the critical link between the research lab and the patients."

"Many Damon Runyon alumni have gone on to become leaders in the field, including Nobel Laureates and scientists who are behind some of the key discoveries in the fight against cancer," said Nancy Valente of Genentech. "Genentech is honored to be a part of the type of collaboration needed to accelerate the discovery of even greater advances in science and for people with cancer."

Scientists from the nation's leading research institutions, including Stanford University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Northwestern University, attended the symposium to hear presentations on a diverse range of promising research, from novel new mechanisms to identify drug targets to genomic approaches to assessing cancer risk, and to brainstorm about creative approaches to speed new treatments to cancer patients.

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About Accelerating Cancer Cures

Accelerating Cancer Cures addresses the critical shortage of clinical researchers working on breakthroughs in cancer treatments and cures. Under the leadership of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and with the support of industry and academia, this project fosters the talent desperately needed to accelerate breakthroughs in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Accelerating Cancer Cures is supported by some of the world's leading companies including: Eli Lilly and Company, Celgene, Genentech, Merck, Pfizer, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Co. For more information, visit http://www.damonrunyon.org/accelerate.

About the Foundation

To accelerate breakthroughs, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation provides today's best young scientists with funding to pursue innovative cancer research. The Foundation supports emerging leaders who have great potential to achieve breakthroughs in how we diagnose, treat and prevent cancer. Since its founding in 1946, the Foundation has invested more than $275 million and funded more than 3,420 young scientists.

100% of all donations to the Foundation are used to support scientific research. Its administrative and fundraising costs are paid from its Damon Runyon Broadway Tickets Service and endowment.

For more information visit http://www.damonrunyon.org.

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