Joining Forces to Advance Immuno-Oncology Research 

February 26, 2018

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n 2012, Bristol-Myers Squibb formed the International Immuno-Oncology Network (II-ON), a global peer-to-peer collaboration between Bristol-Myers Squibb and academia, to help accelerate research and further the scientific understanding of I-O. 

From left to right: W. Nicholas Haining, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Alan Korman, Vice President of I-O Discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Mike Quigley, Senior Director of I-O Discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

From left to right: W. Nicholas Haining, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Alan Korman, Vice President of I-O Discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Mike Quigley, Senior Director of I-O Discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

“As one of the longest standing relationships between academic institutions and the industry, the II-ON has become very important to our research at Bristol-Myers Squibb,” said Nils Lonberg, head of Oncology Biology Discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

For collaborations like the II-ON, information sharing is essential, which is why recently, more than 100 members from Bristol-Myers Squibb and the II-ON’s cancer research institutions gathered at the 5th Annual II-ON Scientific Symposium in Philadelphia, PA.

Tom Lynch, Chief Scientific Officer at Bristol-Myers Squibb, discusses why the II-ON is so important to advancing early cancer research.

"Live interactions are key, and what makes the II-ON Symposium so beneficial is that it provides a very open venue for discussion and exchange," said Wendy Clemens, executive director of Oncology Clinical Development at Bristol-Myers Squibb. "Having an environment where you can have direct conversations about emerging challenges in the field really brings out the innovative spirit among the group."

Dan McDonald, program lead for the II-ON at Bristol-Myers Squibb, delivers a presentation to the II-ON attendees.

Dan McDonald, program lead for the II-ON at Bristol-Myers Squibb, delivers a presentation to the II-ON attendees.

The II-ON Symposium focused on topics central to the three key pillars of the II-ON: understanding the mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapy; identifying patient populations likely to benefit from immunotherapy; and exploring novel combination therapies that may enhance anti-tumor response through complementary mechanisms of action.

At this year’s Symposium, the II-ON welcomed its 16th member institution – Yale Cancer Center. As the newest addition, Yale brings both world-class basic research expertise as well as a robust clinical research portfolio to the program, and will join other institutions from around the globe working together to drive innovation in cancer research. 

“The II-ON gives us the chance to work more efficiently and collaboratively with Bristol-Myers Squibb and the other II-ON academic centers to address scientific questions in I-O,” said Roy Herbst, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center of Immuno-Oncology at Yale Cancer Center and Yale’s principal investigator of the II-ON team. “The hope is this early research can someday inform clinical trials and ultimately help us to achieve our goal of transforming the way we treat people affected by cancer.”

The 2018 Symposium is over, but the important work to generate innovative I-O science, launch biology-driven trials and seek out cutting-edge technologies will continue throughout the year and beyond, with the goal of translating research findings into clinical trials and, hopefully, changing patients’ lives for the better.

To learn more about the II-ON, visit the following link:

Thomas Lynch

Advancing Translational Cancer Research—Together

Collaboration could be the key to researching and discovering the next generation of I-O compounds