Children's Tumor Foundation and Cenix BioScience sign framework research agreement to accelerate industrial efforts on neurofibromatosis

(PresseBox) ( New York, NY, USA / Minneapolis, MN, USA, )
The Children's Tumor Foundation (CTF), a nonprofit medical foundation dedicated to improving the health and well being of individuals and families affected by neurofibromatosis (NF), and Cenix BioScience, a leading preclinical contract research provider, today announced that they have signed a framework research agreement.

For the Children's Tumor Foundation, with more than three decades at the forefront of funding and driving the fight against NF types 1 and 2, schwannomatosis and related disorders, the agreement with Cenix represents an important step in the Foundation's new initiative to accelerate the application of industrial best practices in translating the growing wealth of scientific understanding from the academic community into an ever-stronger, well-calibrated therapeutic pipeline. The new strategy represents an effective solution in addressing the longstanding challenge of mobilizing large pharmaceutical companies in the fight against rare diseases such as NF. As these same large companies are now themselves increasingly turning to specialized contract research providers to drive more and more of their own pre-clinical work, this outsourcing model offers an important new approach for CTF to more readily access relevant industrial capabilities and know-how.

Through such so-called "virtual pharma" activities, CTF will complement and further build upon the successes of its ongoing initiatives and funding programs, including the NF Pre-Clinical Consortium, the Drug Discovery Initiative, the NF Clinical Network, as well as the awards and grants program that have been longstanding drivers in these fields.

"We are starting with carefully selected contract research providers who we know to have very strong, well-established track records in driving key types of translational R&D for top-level pharmas in disease fields of high-relevance to NF, such as oncology and neurological indications," noted Dr. Annette Bakker, Chief Scientific Officer of the Children's Tumor Foundation. "Importantly, we are not automatically going to the largest 'one-stop-shop' organizations, but rather, identifying those that combine specialist-level expertise in our key priority areas with clear reputations for delivering consistently top- value output for their clients over the years. Not only does Cenix fit this bill perfectly, but their longstanding commitment to supporting rare and neglected disease research, as evidenced by their past work on malaria, makes them an even more welcome partner for the CTF."

For Cenix, the new agreement, driven by its recently-established U.S. subsidiary, offers an ideal opportunity to further leverage the company's well-proven core expertise with key pre-clinical R&D activities, including advanced RNAi-, genomics- and high content biology-driven discovery and validation of novel therapeutic targets, analyses of drug mechanisms of action, predictive toxicology and identification of novel biomarkers. Over more than a decade of successfully advancing industrial pharmaceutical and biotech programs in a wide range of disease indications, Cenix has taken particular pride in offering equal access to the same capabilities on preferential terms for academic groups and particularly for those tackling rare and neglected diseases.

Accordingly, the present agreement secures preferential access to the full range of contract research capabilities offered by Cenix, its affiliates and their partners, to drive future preclinical projects in the NF1, NF2 and schwannomatosis fields, as commissioned either by CTF alone or with third party collaborators.

"We are greatly excited by this opportunity to contribute our capabilities towards advancing the fight against some of the most devastating and, sadly, most common of so-called 'rare diseases'," Dr. Christophe Echeverri, CEO/CSO of Cenix. "While we derive huge satisfaction from the work we have done in a very wide range of disease areas over the years, the possibility of addressing such unmet and underfunded medical needs is particularly motivating and fulfilling for our entire team. With the crucial, unwavering support from the Children's Tumor Foundation over the years, the NF research field has matured exceptionally well, such that it now offers an extremely strong, cutting-edge foundation to build an effective and well-diversified therapeutic pipeline. We look forward to doing our part towards ending NF1, NF2 and schwannomatosis as soon as possible."

About the Children's Tumor Foundation

The Children's Tumor Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding effective treatments for the millions of people worldwide living with neurofibromatosis (NF), a term for three distinct disorders: NF1, NF2, and schwannomatosis. NF causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and can lead to blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer, deafness, disfigurement, learning disabilities, and excruciating and disabling pain. It affects one in every 3,000 people, more than cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Huntington's disease combined. The Children's Tumor Foundation funds critical research into neurofibromatosis. In addition to benefitting those who live with NF, this research is shedding new light on several forms of cancer, brain tumors, bone abnormalities, and learning disabilities, ultimately benefiting the broader community. For more information, please visit www.ctf.org
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