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News / 11.18.20

Broad welcomes eight new members to Cancer Dependency Map Consortium

By David Cameron

Academic-industrial collaboration seeks to identify and exploit cancer vulnerabilities

The Broad Institute is expanding its Cancer Dependency Map (DepMap) Consortium, an academic-industrial partnership program that was first announced last year. The consortium has grown substantially in its second phase with eight new industrial partners including biotechnology and data-science organizations joining the initial group of ten companies.

The Cancer Dependency Map Consortium supports the Broad’s Cancer Dependency Map project, which aims to discover new targets and biomarkers for precision cancer therapy. The program is creating a systematic overview — or “map” — of the genetic dependencies and small molecule sensitivities of each type of cancer and the predictive biomarkers that point to patient populations most likely to benefit from this data.

The DepMap Consortium (DMC) opened membership for expansion to a total of 20 partners in 2020. The eight new members thus far are:

  • Amgen
  • IBM
  • IDEAYA Biosciences
  • Incyte
  • Merck
  • Pfizer
  • Scorpion Therapeutics
  • Loxo Oncology at Lilly

Over the last year, the DepMap Consortium has collaborated to support the most comprehensive cancer drug repurposing map to date, a customizable target discovery app that will soon enable pinpointing the best therapeutic targets based on user-specified criteria, new tools to advance large-scale single-cell profiling of dependencies, and the triangulation between the genomic features of tumors and cell models, in addition to other field-leading discoveries and innovations.

This new cohort of corporate members will join the ten initial DMC partners: AbbVie; AstraZeneca; Bayer; Bristol-Myers Squibb; Calico Life Sciences; Genentech, a member of the Roche Group; GlaxoSmithKline; H3 Biomedicine; Janssen Biotech, Inc.; and Repare Therapeutics.

“We couldn’t be happier with the expansion of the DepMap Consortium to 18 partners. This community of researchers across biotechnology, pharmaceutical and data-science organizations is moving the field faster, by working together and sharing ideas. I am confident that patients will benefit sooner via this collaborative approach,” said Jesse Boehm, Institute Scientist at the Broad Institute and Scientific Director of the DepMap project.

This alliance brings great value to the consortium members. Partners continually benefit from access to data and computational methods. They also gain from the deep and meaningful collaborations with the Broad’s DepMap team, which will speed the development of new therapies as well as provide deeper insights into the basic biology of many types of cancer.

The research objectives of the Consortium continue to be:

  • to create and aggregate genomically-characterized, patient-derived cell models representing diverse cancers and tissues of origin
  • to perform large-scale compound screens in molecularly-barcoded cell lines
  • to execute large numbers of genome-wide CRISPR loss-of-function viability screens
  • to develop computational methods and biologist-friendly tools for exploring data (via API or portal), discovering extraordinary dependencies, and finding patient populations whose tumors harbor molecular features leading to dependencies
  • to release new collections of dependency data each quarter

“Working with the Broad as a DepMap Consortium member has been a tremendous positive for Repare. The data and computational expertise provided by the Broad in this partnership have positively impacted our discovery efforts and enabled important translational decision-making for our programs,” said Michael Zinda, Chief Scientific Officer at Repare Therapeutics.

Over the next few years, the DepMap Consortium will focus on new technical development activities aimed at increasing the scale, precision and breadth of the Cancer Dependency Map, setting the stage for the decade ahead.

The DepMap Consortium currently welcomes new partners and opportunities. To learn more, contact Kelly Sullivan,, principal alliance manager of the DepMap consorituim.