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A Billionaire's Cancer Moonshot

Patrick Soon-Shiong.

Photographer: Danny Moloshok/AP
  • Amgen, Celgene, GSK, Independence Blue Cross join coalition
  • `Moonshot' group aims for trials in 20,000 patients by 2020

A billionaire entrepreneur has pulled together a coalition of drugmakers to speed development of what researchers believe could be a powerful weapon against cancers -- potent combinations of new drugs that harness the body’s immune system.

So-called immunotherapies help disease-fighting cells attack tumors. Yet researchers believe they may work best when two, three or more of the drugs are used together -- overwhelming a tumor’s cellular defenses with attacks from all sides.

The group brought together by Patrick Soon-Shiong calls itself Moonshot 2020 and also includes academic institutions and insurers. Its leaders hope to get competing drug and biotech companies to work together on the combination treatments rather than developing their own compounds in isolation.

“The key contribution here is the ability to run combination studies with drugs...


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