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The Project Data Sphere® initiative Achieves 1st Year Milestones

May 11, 2015

Cancer community broadly shares, integrates, and analyzes clinical trial data within a single research platform to advance innovation and improve lives

CARY, NC (May 11, 2015) – Since its launch one year ago, Project Data Sphere, LLC (PDS), an independent not-for-profit initiative of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer’s Life Sciences Consortium (LSC), achieved its key 12-month goal of including data from 25,000 patient lives as part of its broader aim to share, integrate and analyze historical patient level, comparator arm data from academic and industry cancer clinical trials to drive innovation and accelerate research. The broad-access approach of the Project Data Sphere® platform,, is bringing together diverse minds and technology to help unleash the full potential of existing clinical trial data and speed innovation by generating collective insights that may lead to improved trial design, modeling of disease progression and endpoints and entirely new research gleaned from applying advanced analytic technology to existing data.

“This is an achievement to be celebrated,” said Mace Rothenberg, M.D., Co-Chairman of the Task Force which launched the Project Data Sphere initiative and senior vice president of Clinical Development and Medical Affairs and chief medical officer for Pfizer Oncology. “Project Data Sphere will help advance cancer research in an entirely new way: by providing access to patient-level data along with the sophisticated analytic tools necessary to identify new patterns, behavior, and outcomes of cancer.  This has the potential to not only advance our knowledge and understanding of cancer but to help in the design of better, more efficient clinical trials that could help speed the development of new, more effective therapies.”

During its first year, the Project Data Sphere initiative achieved many milestones:

  • The data sharing platform performed flawlessly during its first year in operation.
  • The data on the platform has grown to include more than 25,0000 patient lives across more than 40 data sets from various cancer tumor types including bladder, breast, colorectal, gastric, kidney, lung, melanoma , myelofibrosis, , pancreatic and prostate.
  • The registered user community has grown to more than 750 authorized users who have performed more than 2,000 downloads of data for research purposes
  • More than 10 manuscripts, both in peer-reviewed journals and abstracts, were published using data and/or analysis from the platform.
  • A crowdsourced research challenge was launched to address key questions related to prostate cancer

The achievement of these goals was made possible through collaborations with organizations which provided data and catalyzed the use of the platform for research innovation. Charter data providers include: AstraZeneca, Bayer, Celgene, Johnson & Johnson, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Pfizer and Sanofi. Most of these organizations also increased their level of data provision throughout the year.

Additionally, the ranks of data providers grew to include other leading oncology research organizations such as: Amgen, EMD Serono, Lilly, Synta and The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, one of the five U.S. network groups of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) Program.

“The faith that patients show in us as researchers when they volunteer for clinical trials is too important to let their valuable information sit unused after a trial is complete,” said Daniel J. Sargent, PhD, Ralph S. and Beverly E. Caulkins Professor of Cancer Research at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and Group Statistician for the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. “Data sharing through efforts such as the Project Data Sphere initiative allows new research and new discoveries that no single trial could provide on its own.  The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology is proud to partner with Project Data Sphere, LLC to make our data available in a responsible manner.’

In order to ensure that researchers can realize the full potential of this data, PDS teamed with CEO Roundtable on Cancer Member, SAS Institute Inc. SAS, a leader in data and health analytics, developed and hosts the site and provides state-of-the-art analytic tools to registered users within the Project Data Sphere environment.

Additional collaborations with leading organization like Sage BioNetworks and the Prostate Cancer Foundation have helped to lead the charge to encourage researchers to leverage and explore how the research community can accelerate cancer research for the benefits of patients. The first research challenge using data from the Project Data Sphere initiative was launched earlier in 2015. The Prostate Cancer DREAM Challenge marries crowdsourcing with data sharing, offering an innovative approach to tackle key research questions about metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), an advanced form of the disease with poor outcomes.

About the CEO Roundtable on Cancer

The CEO Roundtable on Cancer was founded in 2001, when former President George H.W. Bush challenged a group of executives to "do something bold and venturesome about cancer within your own corporate families." The CEOs responded by creating and encouraging the widespread adoption of the CEO Cancer Gold Standard™  which calls for organizations to evaluate their health benefits and workplace culture and take extensive, concrete actions in five key areas of health and wellness to address cancer in the workplace. The Life Sciences Consortium (LSC) ( was formed by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer as a means of bringing together leading oncology pharmaceutical/ biotechnology companies to enable a transformation in research and development activities. Their aim is to deliver more effective oncology therapies to patients faster by collaborating on solving issues common to all cancer companies engaged in drug discovery and development that cannot be solved by any single company alone. An earlier outcome of the LSC was the creation of the Standard Terms of Agreement for Research Trial (START) clauses in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute. The creation of these “common language” contract templates aims to shorten the contract negotiation time prior to opening a clinical research trial. For more information, please visit

About Project Data Sphere, LLC

Project Data Sphere, LLC (PDS), an independent, not-for-profit initiative of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer’s Life Sciences Consortium (LSC), operates the Project Data Sphere platform ( which provides one place where the research community can broadly share, integrate and analyze historical, patient-level cancer phase III comparator-arm data with the goal of advancing future research to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families around the world.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 75,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.

About Sage Bionetworks

Sage Bionetworks ( is a nonprofit biomedical research organization, founded in 2009, with a vision to promote innovations in personalized medicine by enabling a community-based approach to scientific inquiries and discoveries. In pursuit of this Mission, Sage Bionetworks is working with others, including the DREAM Initiative, to assemble an information Commons for biomedicine that (1)  is supported by an open compute space (Synapse:, (2) supports open research collaborations and innovative DREAM Challenges, and (3) empowers citizens and patients with the tools to partner with researchers and share their data through Sage’s BRIDGE platform ( in order to drive the research studies that matter most to them. Sage Bionetworks is located on the campus of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, and is supported through a portfolio of philanthropic donations, competitive research grants, and commercial partnerships.

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Michael Curnyn
Project Data Sphere, LLC
An initiative of the Life Sciences Consortium
of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer
C: 610 731-5862