Roche welcomes new partnership with government

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Roche has welcomed its new partnership with the federal government for a research study focused on genomics and personalised medicine.

Health minister Greg Hunt officially launched the ‘ASPiRATION’ study at the Garvan Institute in Sydney this morning. He was joined by research leaders and senior representatives of Roche, including Ron Park, Vice President and Global Lead of Personalised Healthcare, Global Product Strategy.

The genomic profiling research study will involve 1,000 Australians with newly diagnosed metastatic, non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer.

Each patient in the study will have a comprehensive genomic profile with the information used to improve and optimise treatment by matching potential therapies.

Roche Australia’s General Manager, Stuart Knight, also attended. He highlighted the significance of the announcement for Australia and the company.

“Australia is one of the first countries globally where Roche has secured partnership agreements with governments to advance genomic profiling and personalised healthcare, following similar announcements in Croatia and Taiwan,” said Mr Knight.

“Australia has world-leading expertise in genomic research and is well-positioned to become a leader in personalised healthcare. Today’s announcement supports the Federal Health Minister’s vision to make genomics and precision medicine the standard of care in Australia.”

The federal government and Roche will fund the costs of all study activities. The study will be overseen and implemented by the Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group, the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre, and the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre.

The federal government will commit $5 million through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) while Roche will contribute $6.74 million, and access to its medicines via clinical trials.

The study is the first-of-its-kind in Australia. It is designed to generate high quality, real-world, clinical and medical data about the impact and value of comprehensive genomic profiling, precision medicine and personalised healthcare (PHC). 

“Comprehensive genomic profiling - when implemented at scale along with tools and processes to support personalised care plans, rapid access to innovative medicines, and systematic tracking of clinico-genomic data - enables the promise of truly personalised healthcare by identifying the right treatment for the right patient, at the right time,” said Roche's Ron Park.

“Roche is committed to enabling better patient outcomes with personalised healthcare, and we’re honoured to partner with the Government and like-minded organisations in Australia.”

The study hopes to provide a blueprint for how personalised healthcare and comprehensive genomic profiling can be incorporated into clinical practice and become the standard of care in treating cancer in Australia.

“There is a clear need for better management of advanced lung cancer to improve survival outcomes for Australian patients,” said Associate Professor Nick Pavlakis, President of the Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group. “Clinical practice is shifting toward precision medicine becoming the standard in cancer care, where treatment can be personalised to the unique genomic profile of a patient’s tumour.”

“In patients with advanced lung cancer, the identification of an actionable tumour marker unlocks potential high impact treatment options – which may have otherwise not been considered – greatly improving patients’ prognosis and long-term outcomes,” added Professor Pavlakis.

“Without national, equitable use of testing that can reliably identify the relevant genomic anomalies of tumours, many cancer patients in Australia will not receive targeted therapy at all,” said Professor David Thomas, CEO of the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre 

“Today’s announcement of the five-way partnership provides a unique platform to translate clinical research into practice and enables the collection of real world data that can be used to inform treatment decisions and improve cancer care in Australia,” added Professor Thomas.