GERMANY – German based pharma company, Merck, and BioMed X, an independent research institute located at the University of Heidelberg in Germany have partnered to focus on their oncology related research.

This is the eighth collaboration between the two organizations and is set to explore the role of extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) in cancer.

BioMedX currently has two other ongoing oncology related programmes focused on DNA damage response and RNA splicing that this new research program is set to compliment.

Extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) is any DNA that is found off the chromosomes, either inside or outside the nucleus of a cell.

Multiple forms of extrachromosomal DNA exist and serve important biological functions, e.g. they can play a role in disease, such as ecDNA in cancer.

Recently, ecDNA was discovered to be prevalent in multiple human cancer cells, with its frequency varying among different types of cancer.

On top of that, high levels of ecDNA may correlate with poor clinical outcomes in human cancers, according to BioMed X.

The overarching goal of the project is to create a comprehensive support of ecDNA in human cancer tissues and investigate how oncogenes in ecDNA could contribute to tumorigenesis, disease progression, tumor heterogeneity, metastasisa and treatment resistance.

This research programme will then aim to develop novel therapeutic strategies based on oncogenic alterations in ecDNA.

According to a report by the Fortune Business Insights, the growing prevalence of cancer around the world is set to spur opportunities around the cancer drug market.

With this in mind, the global oncology drugs market size is expected to reach US$ 394.24 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 11.6% during the forecast period.

Ongoing technological advancement in the field of pharmacy is expected to create opportunities for the market during the forecast period with clinical trials and various drugs in the pipeline expected to facilitate the growth of the industry.

The growing cases of numerous types of cancer, such as lung cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, and others will spur demand for oncology drugs, thus enhancing market growth.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is a growing burden and the number of new cancer cases is going to rise from 18.1 million in 2018 to 29.4 million by 2040.

The oncology market has companies like Roche, Novartis, Pfizer, GSK, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Sanofi, and Bayer playing a major role in making therapies against the disease.