How can you ensure that more experimental drugs reach the finish line? At the moment, only one in twenty cancer drugs that are tested on humans makes it to the market. This is an enormous loss for patients and society. With a grant from the National Growth Fund, Oncode-PACT aims to efficiently select the best compounds, so that more experimental medicines reach the finishing line. Among others, Leiden chemists, pharmacologists, biologists and computer scientists are working together to achieve this. Mario van der Stelt, Professor of Molecular Physiology and principal investigator at the Oncode Institute, explains how.

He received the liberating text message during a meeting on 14 April, early in the afternoon. The Oncode-PACT consortium, with Van der Stelt as one of the architects, will receive 325 million euros from the National Growth Fund over the next eight years. With this money, around fifty companies and institutes can work on their plan to develop cancer medicines faster and better. Among them are many scientist from the Science Faculty of Leiden University. ‘I was not allowed to say anything after that text message because it was a secret until the Minister’s press conference had finished,’ says Van der Stelt.

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