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NCCN Receives $2 Million in Research Funding From Boehringer Ingelheim to Study Volasertib* in Hematologic Malignancies

The NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP) Received a $2-Million Grant From Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to Facilitate Studies of Volasertib in Hematologic Malignancies

FORT WASHINGTON, PA--(Marketwired - May 22, 2014) - The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) Oncology Research Program (ORP) has been awarded a $2-million grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to develop a program to scientifically evaluate and define the safety and clinical effectiveness of the investigational compound volasertib* in the treatment of hematologic malignancies.

"The ongoing collaboration between the NCCN ORP and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals is a true testament to the advancement of oncology research," said Diane E. Paul, MS, RN, Vice President, NCCN ORP. "This grant will afford investigators at NCCN Member Institutions the ability to be at the forefront of groundbreaking clinical research in hematologic malignancies."

The first phase of the program will involve the establishment of an NCCN Volasertib Request for Proposals Development Team to evaluate existing data and to discuss and define the data and type of studies necessary to further characterize the safety and clinical effectiveness of volasertib in hematologic malignancies.

Volasertib is an investigational compound that inhibits enzymes called Polo-like kinase (PLK). PLK1 is the best characterized kinase of the PLK family.[i] Plk1 regulates cell division (mitosis).[ii] This inhibition can result in prolonged cell cycle arrest, ultimately leading to cell death (apoptosis).[ii] Volasertib is currently being evaluated in clinical trials for various solid tumors and hematological cancers.

"Boehringer Ingelheim is honored to partner with such a prestigious organization as NCCN which is known for their high quality cancer research," said Berthold Greifenberg, MD, Vice President, Clinical Development and Medical Affairs, Oncology, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "We hope this grant will contribute to the understanding of the potential of volasertib to treat hematologic malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia."

The NCCN ORP draws on the expertise of investigators at NCCN Member Institutions and the NCCN Affiliate Research Consortium (ARC) to facilitate all phases of clinical research. This research is made possible by collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in order to advance therapeutic options for patients with cancer.

The NCCN ORP will utilize the grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to support investigator-initiated clinical and correlative studies at NCCN Member Institutions and their affiliate community hospitals for volasertib. To date, this successful research model has received approximately $26 million in research grants and supported more than 115 studies that have produced a number of publications in peer-reviewed journals.

To learn more about the NCCN ORP and ongoing clinical trials, visit

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 25 of the world's leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, is dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers.

The NCCN Member Institutions are: Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at The Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE; City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, Jacksonville, FL, and Rochester, MN; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Columbus, OH; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN; Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, CA; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, Birmingham, AL; UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, CO; University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN; and Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital, New Haven, CT.

Clinicians, visit Patients and caregivers, visit

About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation (Ridgefield, CT) and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 142 affiliates and more than 47,400 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

Social responsibility is a central element of Boehringer Ingelheim's culture. Involvement in social projects, caring for employees and their families, and providing equal opportunities for all employees form the foundation of the global operations. Mutual cooperation and respect, as well as environmental protection and sustainability are intrinsic factors in all of Boehringer Ingelheim's endeavors.

In 2013, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about $18.7 billion (14.1 billion euro). R&D expenditure in the Prescription Medicines business corresponds to 19.5% of its net sales.

For more information please visit

*This compound is investigational and not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Its safety and efficacy have not been established.

[i] Strebhardt K. Multifaceted polo-like kinases: drug targets and antitargets for cancer therapy. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2010;9(8):643-60.

[ii] Schoffski P. Polo-like kinase (PLK) inhibitors in preclinical and early clinical development in oncology. Oncologist. 2009;14(6):559-70.

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