Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2013 Annual Report: Venture Philanthopy

The 2013 Annual Report for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has been released.  In this series of blogs, a number of key advancements and developments will be highlighted.  This report is an in-depth look at how your fundraising dollars are being spent and the medical breakthroughs and partnerships you are so crucial in creating.

LLS provides the seed money to encourage innovative research in areas of unmet medical need.  This high-risk, high-reward strategy is helping save lives through partnerships with universities and biotechnology companies, giving critical support to research and advancing therapies that might otherwise go undeveloped.

In fiscal year 2013, LLS venture philanthropy leadership was underscored when three LLS Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP) partners saw major business transactions that made headlines.

In 2011, LLS partnered with Epizyme to drive the early development of a DOT1L-targeted therapy for patients with mixed lineage leukemia.  In fiscal year 2013, the importance of this project was recognized by a $90 million licensing partnership with Celgene Corporation and a subsequent Epizyme initial public offering (IPO) in May.

In 2010, LLS entered a partnership with Onconovoa Therapeutics, Inc. to support a phase 3 clinical trial testing rigosertib, a novel mutli-kinase inhibitory agent in the treatment of high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes.  In fiscal year 2013, the importance of the project was recognized by a $50 million licensing partnership with Baxter International Inc. and a subsequent IPO by Onconova.  This IPO, in July 2013, raised almost $78 million, which will support continued development of rigosertib.

In 2011, LLS partnered with Acetylon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to accelerate the development of novel treatment for multiple myeloma.  The innovative nature of this project was recognized in fiscal year 2013 when Celgene Corporation signed a $100 million agreement to further develop Acetylon's group of HDAC6-selective histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors.In each case above, large pharmaceutical companies and the public markets recognized the promise of new therapies being supported by LLS by making significant additional investments. 

These investments enable our biotechnology partners to overcome risk thresholds and move promising new treatments forward.

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