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Novartis, Harvard team up to develop biomaterial systems for cancer therapies

Novartis AG signed a collaboration and licensing deal with Harvard University to develop biomaterial systems for its portfolio of cancer drugs.

The licensed biomaterial systems were developed to get around difficulties that come with traditional cancer vaccines, including limited length of effectiveness and inability to target specific cancer cells.

The partnership will see Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis team up with scientists from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Wyss Institute and Dana-Farber have already engineered systems that aim to provide sustained delivery of cancer therapies and target specific kinds of cancer. Novartis will work with the Wyss Institute to further develop the biomaterial systems and look into ways of applying the methods using medicines from its drug portfolio.

The systems, which are made of biodegradable materials, can either be implanted or injected into body tissues.

Technologies licensed under the deal are owned by Harvard University, Dana-Farber and the University of Michigan. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.