In an effort to boost its image and further develop its R&D pipeline for new oncology products, Paris-based Sanofi-aventis signed a two-year service contract with Oncodesign Biotechnology.Under the terms of the contract, Oncodesign Biotechnology, a specialist in the identification of novel cancer therapies which has developed an innovative preclinical research platform dedicated to establishing the in vitro and in vivo proof of concept of potential therapeutic agents, supply and develop exclusive, experimental models in different types of cancer for Sanofi-aventis.Unlike traditional models, which are derived from cultured cell lines, the models that Oncodesign is developing are based on the use of tumor tissue taken directly from patients, enabling more customized evaluations to be made of new therapies while remaining as close as possible to clinical reality.?To our knowledge, this contract is a first for a service company, since it is a long-term collaboration that calls for us to supply experimental models to sanofi-aventis,? said the CEO of Oncodesign, Philippe Genne. ?We are working todevelop our design and validation capability so we can make ready-to-use models available to our customers and partners.?Onocdesign and Sanofi-aventis worked together in the CReMED (Resource Center for Experimental Cancer Models), a program which started in 2005 under the sponsorship of the Medicen Paris Region competition pole and entailed the development and characterization of experimental models of colon cancer. The work involved evaluating new therapies in the most relevant models, the ones that most resemble the clinical reality in histological, molecular and pharmacological terms. The participants in this program may also have access to models of tumors taken from patients who have already undergone treatments and/or have developed resistance to them. It is then possible to look for new treatments or combinations of medicines.Commenting on the new agreement, Genne explained: ?This collaboration is a positive result of our participation in the CReMEC program, in which we confirmed the relevance of our approach in tumor models with few successive grafts.??We trust Oncodesign?s know-how and its long-term project management ability,? said the Head of Oncology Research at sanofi-aventis, Christoph Lengauer. ?The company?s specific logistics, which enables usable models to bedeveloped with only a few grafts, was a decisive factor in our choice.?Cancer puts great pressure on healthcare systems, since the disease costs hundreds of billions of dollars a year in western countries. Nevertheless, existing cancer treatments are not very effective, having an average response rate ofonly about 20%. The shift in treatment strategy towards more targeted therapies creates a need for more predictive experimental models to meet the new demands of the pharmaceutical industry.Oncodesign?s pharmacology based ?Qualifying Approach? helps to speed up the evaluation of the therapeutic potential of novel molecules and the translational perspective of create a continuum from drug target to patient.