The Therapeutic
Accelerator Award:
Invest in Progress

You Are Changing the Status Quo

In May 2022, PanCAN launched the Therapeutic Accelerator Award (TAA), a bold new research initiative focused on changing the status quo in pancreatic cancer research and treatments.

Our deepest appreciation to 1440 Foundation and the Gail V. Coleman-Kenneth M. Bruntel Research Fund, whose generous philanthropic investments supported the launch of this program.

You – our donors — are the heartbeat of PanCAN. For more than 20 years, amazing people like you have partnered with us to fund research and find new treatment breakthroughs for patients with pancreatic cancer. You’ve strengthened the movement with your passion and generosity. And because of you, hope is alive.

PanCAN created the Therapeutic Accelerator Award to speed up the development of new pancreatic cancer treatments.

Today’s five-year survival rate of 11% is too low. Patients are being diagnosed too late. And drug development for pancreatic cancer is too slow.

We need new treatments, and we need them now. The PanCAN Therapeutic Accelerator Award is a bold new path to those treatments. This new research initiative is yet another way we’re changing the status quo.

To achieve this, the competitively selected TAA provides grants of up to $5 million to incentivize pharma and biotech companies to prioritize new pancreatic cancer therapies and conduct early-stage (Phase 1 and 2) clinical trials for these therapies.

Given how deadly pancreatic cancer can be, you’d think it would be a top priority for the scientific community. But the reality is, pharma and biotech companies often don’t prioritize this disease. Two of the main reasons are:

  • Pancreatic cancer affects a relatively small population compared to other cancers. Developing a drug for a smaller patient base translates to fewer profits for pharma and biotech companies – profits that are critical for their future research endeavors. The small patient base also makes it harder to recruit people for clinical trials.
  • Pancreatic cancer research is risky and expensive. Estimates suggest that early-stage (Phase 1/2) clinical trials for pancreatic cancer drugs range between $9 and $12 million, and the total cost through a Phase 3 clinical trial can range from $30 to $50 million.

Considering that the success rate for pancreatic cancer Phase 3 clinical trials has hovered around 10% for two decades – and that many more Phase 1/2 trials never even progress to Phase 3 – these studies are risky investments for pharma and biotech companies.

Precision PromiseSM is PanCAN’s groundbreaking clinical trial to accelerate new treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients. The design of this adaptive clinical trial is more efficient, requiring fewer patients and less time than a traditional clinical trial, which can lead to faster approval of effective treatments.

While Precision Promise provides an effective approach for late-stage research on new pancreatic cancer therapies, we’ve learned that many companies aren’t investing in the early-stage research necessary for later-stage studies and potential drug approval in this disease.

That’s why the Therapeutic Accelerator Award focuses on early-stage clinical trials for new pancreatic cancer therapies. We aim to fund early-stage studies of effective new drugs and therapies that we can integrate into Precision Promise for later-stage testing. This approach could eventually lead to FDA approval of urgently needed new therapies.

In May 2022, Verastem Oncology was selected as the inaugural recipient of the PanCAN Therapeutic Accelerator Award. The $3.8 million award is supporting an early-phase clinical trial to test a leading-edge investigational treatment combination developed by Verastem, with the future goal to pursue later-stage clinical testing of the combination through Precision Promise.

In addition to awarding the inaugural TAA to Verastem, PanCAN created the Therapeutic Accelerator Collaborative – an expert working group of researchers who received funding to conduct lab studies that build on Verastem’s research.

“We are honored to be the first recipient of PanCAN’s Therapeutic Accelerator Award, which enables us to more rapidly expand our development program and advance clinical research in pancreatic cancer to improve patient outcomes.”
— Louis Denis, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Verastem Oncology

Support From Generous Donors

The Therapeutic Accelerator Award wouldn’t be possible without visionary donors like 1440 Foundation and the Gail V. Coleman-Kenneth M. Bruntel Research Fund, whose generous gifts supported the launch of this program.

To ensure the continuation of this crucial work, we’re seeking philanthropic funding for the Therapeutic Accelerator Award program with gifts of $500,000 or more.

In addition, the Therapeutic Accelerator Collaborative provides a total of $2,080,000 in funding, with gift opportunities starting at $275,000.

Through your philanthropic investment, you can pave the way for life-changing – and possibly lifesaving – new treatment options for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Most importantly, you could potentially offer the gift of time to people facing this deadly cancer. For a disease that measures survival in days and months, extra time could make a world of difference for patients and their families.

Join Us!

The Therapeutic Accelerator Award and the Therapeutic Accelerator Collaborative are fueling incredible progress, and we appreciate the generosity of our donors who partner with PanCAN to make this work possible.

There are many ways you can help patients with pancreatic cancer thrive. Visit our Ways to Give page to learn about other opportunities to join the fight against pancreatic cancer. You can also contact PanCAN at 310-706-3307 or eroehm@pancan.org to learn more.

Thank you for standing with us against pancreatic cancer.