Valorization and Societal Impact
Besides our ambition to excel in science, and in line with the recognized link between innovative research and valorization (technology transfer), the VIB Center for Cancer Biology also strives to maximize societal impact by exploiting opportunities in:
- Translational research
- Technology transfer
- Spin-off activities
Top-level cancer research requires intensive collaborations between basic research groups and oncologists/pathologists working in hospitals in order to gain access to patient materials, clinical data and to translate basic research findings into relevant clinical applications. Translational medicine is therefore a key focus within CCB. Group Leaders predominantly interact with the University Hospital Leuven (UZ Leuven) which is Belgium’s largest tertiary hospital and ideally located on the same campus (i.e., Gasthuisberg), the Leuven Comprehensive Cancer Center (LKI) and the Leuven regional hospital (AZ Heilig Hart Leuven). Other collaborations with renowned hospitals world-wide include the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Francisco, USA and the Peter Maccallum Cancer Center in Melbourne, Australia.
Our multiple interactions with UZ Leuven so far have followed a bottom-up approach to implement different cancer types such as liver cancer, glioma, melanoma, leukemia, colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
Furthermore, the VIB Discovery Sciences group is supporting early drug discovery projects related to a number of targets identified within CCB.
Excellence in science is an ideal seeding soil for valorization opportunities. In close cooperation with VIB headquarters, providing essential intellectual and administrative support for valorization projects, our center seeks to identify and optimally exploit tech transfer opportunities. Two experienced managers for technology transfer and patenting matters are present at the CCB to discuss business and IP opportunities with every group leader. Together with the CCB researchers, they explore novel initiatives in the field of diagnostics, cancer metabolism and immunotherapy.
Current collaborations with industry
Patenting and Out-licensing partners
CCB has a long-standing track record of patent applications on its research findings. Recent applications center around colorectal biomarkers, microRNAs involved in inflammatory diseases, muscle regeneration targets, and a series of targets amenable for inhibiting pathological angiogenesis.
CCB has several ongoing collaborative research projects with local biotechs and the pharmaceutical industry at large. Most of these projects are based on our expertise in genetics (massive parallel sequencing), metabolism (access to our state-of-the-art technology park and expertise in interpreting metabolic data) and cancer immunology (availability of expertise and functional genetic screening methods).
Oncurious was founded by VIB and ThromboGenics in 2015 based on the beneficial effects of a humanized PIGF monoclonal antibody in tumors demonstrated by Peter Carmeliet’s group. In 2017, Oncurious took a next step in its corporate development when acquiring an unique portfolio of 5 next-generation immuno-oncology assets from venture partner VIB. These assets are based on discoveries made in the laboratory of Max Mazzone and Gabriele Bergers, two of our CCB PIs. With that, Oncurious broadened its ongoing clinical development activities in orphan pediatric oncology indications with preclinical research and drug development programs, resulting in an exciting pipeline of next-generation immuno-oncology drugs targeting a broad spectrum of cancers.