Strategic changes and the recent launch of a Clinical Research Department have enabled Curie-Cancer to more than treble the number of Phase I studies it conducts with pharmaceutical companies, says the Paris-based body responsible for developing the industry partnership activities of France’s Institut Curie.

In 2012 Curie-Cancer conducted 10 Phase I clinical trials with industry partners, compared with just three in 2010. And the number of early-phase oncology studies continues to grow this year, it says.

“The 2012 increase in early-stage clinical trials for Curie-Cancer is rather remarkable,” commented Christophe Le Tourneau, the oncologist responsible for Institut Curie’s early-phase studies. “Due to contracts signed at the start of 2013, we expect the number to continue to climb significantly.”

The institute’s industry partners range from French small and medium-sized entities (SMEs) to international groups, Le Tourneau noted.

Strategic direction

According to Curie-Cancer, the increasing number of Phase I trials is a direct result of changes in strategic direction implemented by professor Pierre Teillac, director of the Institut Curie Hospital Group, as well as the launch of the Clinical Research Department headed by Veronique Dieras.

Moreover, the body responsible for managing clinical trials at Curie-Cancer is now led by Dr Patricia Tresca, who has “extensive experience” within the pharmaceutical industry, it points out.

Curie-Cancer has also been working on improving patient responsiveness and inclusion rates for its clinical trials, while industry partners get help in obtaining “the reports they need in time to make their decisions faster”.  

Close collaboration

Close collaboration between doctors conducting clinical trials and the researchers in charge of translational and/or fundamental research gives Curie-Cancer a distinct edge, it says.

A growing number of the products evaluated in first-in-human trials at the Institut Curie come from preclinical studies commissioned at different research laboratories on the campus by industry partners, Curie-Cancer explains.

“As researchers are involved in conducting the preclinical studies, they are in a position to best interpret the results,” it comments. “They can therefore make the right decisions quickly.”