Oncology is going through an immense transformation, like the Internet in the early 1990s, and academia-industry partnerships are playing an increasingly critical role in this revolution. Translating breakthrough discoveries into research-driven precision care is moving so fast, in fact, that the best therapy individuals with advanced tumors can get is typically available on a cutting-edge clinical trial.
That’s why it’s so exciting to announce the ribbon cutting at the Center for Novel Therapeutics (CNT).
The idea for the CNT was hatched by two Moores Cancer Center (MCC) faculty, who are among just a handful of physician-scientists worldwide who have actually invented drugs and led global teams to cures for previously lethal malignancies. Their distinctive insight and perspective into the complex process of turning fundamental lab discoveries into a reality for patients, changing standards of care, is reflected in the creative and thoughtful design of every detail of this singular facility — encouraging collaboration with glass-walled corridors and floating meeting rooms.
CNT leverages a themed “incubator,” academia, and San Diego’s status as the third-largest biotech cluster in the U.S.; the only academic biomedical science, public-private partnership, and technology transfer facility in this region.
This “incubator” will provide instant access to world-class technology, talent and resources, including the “accelerator” to catalyze translation of research findings to change the face of patient care.
It’s all about proximity.
This dynamic new center is a microcosm of our extensive, diverse and incredibly innovative biomedical environment, with aligned researchers from academia and industry working side-by-side sharing ideas, energy and passion to accelerate cures. All centered on the vibrant east campus and only a few minutes’ walk from the region’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center and clinical-trial hub at MCC — an area that will become an even more vital destination with the high-tech light rail at its doorstep in 2021.
Inaugural Director of the CNT, Thomas Kipps, M.D., Ph.D., and MCC Director Emeritus, Dennis Carson, M.D., relentlessly pursued and nurtured their shared vision for this vehicle, at the intersection of private sector and academic research. After years of formulation and rigorous ground work, they seized the opportunity to pitch this concept to UC San Diego (UCSD) Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, who immediately recognized its potential to benefit the entire region, a reflection of our profound commitment to path-breaking programs in this space.
His question? “Can we make it bigger?”
Situated between MCC and the La Jolla Institute (LJI), the CNT completes the “immune corridor,” a highly innovative architype that figured prominently in MCC’s recent, successful NCI renewal, which included award of the MCC-LJI consortium. The NCI review noted that “The CNT was designed to stimulate the creation, development, and testing of novel therapies to prevent and cure cancer.”
Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., LJI President and UCSD Dean of Immunology, notes the pivotal import of this interface “to link our fundamental immunology research with clinical trials and the needed commercial development that will lead to more effective treatments for patients.”
Construction of this shared space, built and managed by BioMed Realty and Blackstone, began with groundbreaking on April 11, 2017. Finishing touches will allow for occupancy following a CNT ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019.
— Scott M. Lippman, M.D. is director of UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. You can reach him by e-mail at email@example.com