Tech

Amazon launches cancer vaccine clinical trial in partnership with Fred Hutchinson

Key Points
  • Amazon is working with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to develop cancer vaccines, according to a filing.
  • Amazon is listed as a collaborator on a filing for an FDA-approved clinical trial, which seeks to develop personalized vaccines to treat breast and skin cancers.

In this article

Andy Jassy, chief executive officer of Amazon.Com Inc., during the GeekWire Summit in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021.
David Ryder | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon is developing cancer vaccines in collaboration with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and it recently launched an FDA-approved clinical trial.

Amazon and Fred Hutchinson are looking to recruit 20 participants over the age of 18 for the early stage, or phase 1, trial, according to a filing on clinicaltrials.gov, a database of clinical trials run by the National Library of Medicine. The goal is to develop "personalized vaccines" that can treat breast cancer and melanoma, a form of skin cancer, the filing states.

Fred Hutchinson is listed as a sponsor of the study, while Amazon is listed as a collaborator, according to the filing. News of the partnership was first reported by Business Insider. The study was first posted last October, and it began June 9. It's expected to be complete by Nov. 1 of 2023.

Fred Hutch and Amazon confirmed the partnership. An Amazon spokesperson said it's being led by Fred Hutch.

"Amazon is contributing scientific and machine learning expertise to a partnership with Fred Hutch to explore the development of a personalized treatment for certain forms of cancer," the spokesperson told CNBC in a statement. "It's very early, but Fred Hutch recently received permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to proceed with a Phase I clinical trial, and it's unclear whether it will be successful. This will be a long, multi-year process — should it progress, we would be open to working with other organizations in health care and life sciences that might also be interested in similar efforts."

Amazon has deepened its presence in the health-care industry in recent years. The company in 2020 launched an online pharmacy, it has ramped up its telehealth service, called Amazon Care, and it has sought to develop at-home medical diagnostics.

A secretive research and development group inside Amazon, known as Grand Challenge, initially oversaw the cancer vaccine effort, according to Business Insider, which cited people familiar with the matter. It's now under the purview of a cancer research team reporting to Amazon's vice president of devices, Robert Williams, Business Insider reported.

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