ORIEN Avatar Program has application in discovery and development of immuno-oncology and other novel cancer therapies

TAMPA, Fla. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- M2GEN®, a leading health informatics solutions company, announced today that Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, has joined the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network® (ORIEN) Avatar Research Program. Launched in April of 2016, the ORIEN Avatar Research Program fosters collaboration among key stakeholders in cancer research, including patients themselves, with the shared goal of discovering and developing novel therapies and ultimately matching patients to the best treatment options.

ORIEN Avatar is a collaboration between leading U.S. cancer hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and M2GEN, which manages the program. Patients donate clinical and molecular data through their consent to the Total Cancer Care®Protocol; that data is then utilized by the ORIEN cancer center members and pharmaceutical partners to speed discoveries and match eligible patients to cutting-edge trials. The Program represents an unprecedented, pre-competitive approach to fighting cancer, designed to accelerate the discovery and development of novel therapies for millions of patients. Merck's participation in the program builds on a history of collaboration dating back to the founding of M2GEN in 2006, to operationalize a multi-year agreement based on the Total Cancer Care Protocol.

"We are thrilled to once again be working with Merck, who we view as a founding partner in Total Cancer Care," said William Dalton, PhD, MD, founder and CEO of M2GEN. "We look forward to the next chapter in our shared mission to transform the way in which we diagnose, study and treat cancer patients."

"We are pleased to be working with M2GEN once again," said Eric Rubin, MD, Vice President Clinical Research, Oncology Early Development, Merck Research Laboratories. "By working together we hope to advance and characterize new ways to guide treatment decisions and improve outcomes for patients receiving immuno therapy."

The ORIEN Avatar Research Program provides a secure and innovative collaborative environment linking pharmaceutical companies and prominent cancer centers. Participating cancer researchers contribute samples and disease information from patients who provide consent to be studied via the Total Cancer Care Protocol and receive rich molecular data plus access to a rich network of potential collaborators. Pharmaceutical companies contribute financial support, and receive access to de-identified genetic and disease information that can be used to inform the discovery and clinical development of novel cancer therapeutics.

About M2GEN
M2GEN® is a health informatics solutions company focused on accelerating the discovery and development of personalized medicines. M2GEN partners with the nation's leading cancer centers through ORIEN to create a large, cancer-focused data warehouse linking clinical and molecular data. Using this information, M2GEN helps biopharmaceutical companies address the greatest challenges in oncology drug development.

About ORIEN 
Oncology Research Information Exchange Network® (ORIEN) is a national research partnership among 14 leading U.S. cancer centers that have joined together in an unprecedented collaboration to study, treat and ultimately cure cancer. Founded in 2014 by Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute in Columbus, ORIEN is based on a model of cooperation, coordination, and efficiency in cancer research. This first-of-its-kind effort has led to the construction of the world's largest cancer database, with more than 150,000 patients committing to lifetime study through ORIEN's Total Cancer Care® (TCC) Protocol. Through this specialized, innovative approach to personalized medicine, researchers can better understand the disease and work in concert towards new developments and discovery in cancer care.

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