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Reinforcing multidisciplinarity

If recent trends in major cancers are seen globally in the future, the burden of cancer will increase to 22 million new case each year by 2030. This represents an increase of 75% compared to 20081. The BioAlps region is uniquely placed as a hub of multidisciplinary innovation in the field: pharmaceutical and biotechnology research and development, fundamental and clinical research, mechanical and informatics research and platforms all cross-fertilise to bring the best to healthcare systems.

The different universities in the cluster have world class research ranging from fundamental to clinical and translational research. Notably, two well-respected cancer treatment drugs used internationally, oxaliplatin and triptorelin, were developed by Lausanne-based company Debiopharm. MerckSerono’s state-of-the-art facility near Vevey produces another cancer drug, cetuximab.

OF THE CHF 4.86 BILLION2 SWISS MEDICINES MARKET, 9.8% ARE ONCOLOGY DRUGS. TODAY, 36.7% OF CANCER DRUGS IN SWITZERLAND ARE BIOTECHNOLOGY-DERIVED3.

The National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR)4 in Molecular Oncology, a Swiss net work research programme, aims to strengthen basic cancer research in Switzerland and to explore, in cooperation with partners in different university hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry, the possibilities for new cancer thera pies. Led by the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) at the EPFL in Laus anne in close collaboration with several partner institutes, the programme is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

The Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK)5, consists of a network of 20 clinical cancer research groups across Switzerland, with a coordinating centre in Bern. One of its projects is entitled “New Anticancer drugs”, with an innovative model to discover new remedies.
The Swiss Cancer Centre, based in the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) is a joint effort of the CHUV, UNIL, EPFL and the ISREC Foundation.

It will accommodate 400 researchers and clinicians on 11,500 m 2 as early as 2016, bringing ing together scientists and practitioners under one roof. It will pool resources in an effort to combat the disease: ground-breaking progress in understanding the mechanisms specific to each pathology, optimised management of targeted therapies, networking of advances ben efiting patients under treatment6.

1. Lancet Oncol 2012 13(8) :790-801
2. Pharma Markt Schweiz 2012, Interpharma
3. Ibid
4. www.nccr-oncology.ch
5. www.sakk.ch
6. http://actu.epfl.ch/news/an-iconic-building-to-quicken- the-research-on-canc/

Oncology_IMG_2507

GENOMIC HEALTH: LEADERSHIP IN GENOMIC CANCER DIAGNOSTICS

Founded by biotech industry veteran Randy Scott in 2000 to develop efficient oncology diagnostics, United States-based Genomic Health started expanding out of the US and into worldwide markets eight years later.

Geneva attracted the company in 2009, representing a place with easy access to technologies, knowledge and infrastructure.

Genomic Health conducts sophisticated genomic studies and research to develop and commercialise clinically-validated molecular diagnostic tests, which provide individualised information on response to certain types of cancer therapy and the likelihood of disease recurrence. The company has commercially available tests for breast, colon and prostate cancer patients: the Oncotype DX for invasive breast, DCIS, colon, and prostate cancer assays are unique diagnostic tests that help patients and their physicians make more informed, individualised treatment decisions.

Selected on several occasion to present in the “Best of Oncology” sessions at ASCO, Genomic Health’s cancer assays are currently used all over the world.

Multidisciplinarity a unique advantage

Cancer research benefits from the many disciplines available in Western Swit zerland. The proximity and dynamism of the region’s research institutions, teaching and research private and public hospitals, commercial companies and technology platforms, provide an environment capable of bringing strong in novations to world markets.

The lists below are non exhaustive and showcase some examples of the work being done in the region.

Find more information in our extensive databases: www.bioalps.org/community and, for the six Alpine regions, www.alpslifesciencesearch.com

Academic institutions at the forefront of oncology in western Switzerland

Geneva University UNIGE

Department of Radio-oncology

Radiodiagnostics and interventional radiology

Department of Pathology and Immunology

Epithelial tumours

Geneva University UNIGE & Geneva University Hospitals HUG

Centre de Recherche Clinique

Phase I-III clinical trials and physiopathology, including cancer trials

Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne EPFL

ISREC (Swiss Institute for Experimental
Cancer Research)

Cell signaling in tumour development and metastasis; tumour angiogenesis; tumour immunity and cancer immunotherapy

CSEM (Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique)

Mechanical probing of cells; spectroscopy and microscopy of cancer cells

University of Bern UNIBE

Department of Medicine
Clinical Research

Ovarian, hepatic, metastatic, pediatric oncology

Dr Joseph Steiner Cancer Research
Foundation

Cancer research: new basic concepts, new diagnostic or therapeutic approaches and preventive methods

Bern University Hospital INSELSPITAL

University Clinic for Medical Oncology

Mechanisms of cancer development: solid tumours, lymphoma, melanoma

University Clinic for Radiotherapy

External beam radiotherapy, intensity-modulated radiotherapy

University of Lausanne UNIL

Department of Biochemistry

Discovery and functional characterization of pathways that govern cell division, cell differentiation, cell death and membrane fusion

University Hospital of Lausanne CHUV

Centre du Cancer

Cancer research and treatment (ambulatory oncology; oncology treatment; clinical investigation; experimental and translational research)

UNIGE, UNIL, EPFL, CHUV, HUG

CIBM (Centre d’ Imagerie BioMédicale)

Medical imaging

Sample list of large and small companies involved in oncology in the Bioalps cluster

ADC THERAPEUTICS
Antibody drug conjugates for treatment of solid and hematological cancers

LONZA
Highly active pharmaceutical ingredients (HAPIs) for cancer treatment

AMAL THERAPEUTICS
Peptide-based therapeutic cancer vaccines

MAXIVAX
Encapsulated cellular cancer immunotherapy

CELGENE
Immuno-oncology therapies - hematological and solid tumors

MEDDISCOVERY
Protein drugs for uro-genital cancers

CELLESTIA BIOTECH
NOTCH inhibitor anti-cancer drugs

MERCK
Targeted biotechnology cancer therapeutic manufacturing

DEBIOPHARM GROUP
Peptide research, drug delivery, personalized medicine

PHI PHARMA
Peptide drug conjugates against leukemia

DIAGNOPLEX
Colorectal cancer screening

PFM MEDICAL
Valves and catheters for administering cytotoxic agents

GENOMIC HEALTH
Diagnostic tests for breast, colon and prostate cancer

SANOFI
Chemotherapy and therapeutic agents for different cancers

INCYTE INTERNATIONAL
Therapeutics small molecules for immuno-oncology treatment

STEMERGIE BIOTECHNOLOGY
Treatments and diagnostics by targeting cancer-initiating cells

The fact sheet provides a view of the key players in the sector at any given time; it is not comprehensive and is subject to regular updates.
This current edition was produced in Spring 2018.