BRACE Program Launched by Asian Fund for Cancer Research

September 23, 2019 - 06:39
BRACE Program Launched by Asian Fund for Cancer Research

SINGAPORE - MediaOutReach - 23September 2019 - The Hong Kong-based Asian Fundfor Cancer Research (AFCR) last Thursday, September 19, introduced BridgingResearch from Academia to Cancer Entrepreneurship. The program was inaugurated inSingapore as the first of what will be a series of BRACE Award Competitionsthroughout Asia. Conducted over the course of the day, the event culminated inthe selection of the cancer research project presented by F. Joel Leong, M.D.,Ph.D., chief development officer at A*STAR's Experimental Drug DiscoveryCentre, as its winner and the project presented by Volker Patzel, Ph.D.,assistant professor at the National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin Schoolof Medicine, as its runner-up.


BRACE Award Competitions aim toidentify and catalyze early-stage cancer laboratory discoveries with viableclinical trial pathways. The first such event featured 20 individual research projectsfrom institutions including the National University of Singapore, the NationalCancer Centre Singapore, three A*STAR research entities, the Hong KongUniversity of Science and Technology and multiple young cancer technologycompanies.


Evaluating the presentations was apanel of world-class cancer research professionals, including AFCR scientificadvisory board members. Its members were Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research'sWebster Cavenee, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School's Raju Kucherlapati, Ph.D., formerAvera Cancer Institute's Brian Leyland-Jones, M.D., Ph.D., Eight RoadsVentures' Will Liu, Ph.D., National Cancer Centre Singapore's Kanaga Sabapathy,Ph.D., University of Hong Kong's George Tsao, Ph.D., National Foundation forCancer Research's (NFCR) Michael Wang, M.D., Ph.D., and MD Anderson CancerCenter's W.K. Alfred Yung, M.D.


Dr. Leong's winning projectcomprises ETC-159, a novel small molecule drug candidate for colorectal cancerand other solid tumours. Dr. Patzel's runner-up projectrepresents a unique gene therapy delivery vector targeting hepatocellularcarcinoma. The BRACE Award Competition's other three finalists were the cancerresearch projects presented by Duke-NUS Medical School Professor and Lion TCRScientific Founder Antonio Bertoletti, M.D., Cancer Science Institute ofSingapore Senior Research Scientist Bee Hui Liu, Ph.D., and A*STAR's GenomeInstitute of Singapore Principal Investigator Wai Leong Tam, Ph.D.


The awardees, along with those selectedat future BRACE Award Competitions, willbe introduced by AFCR to its funded scientists,scientific advisory board members and other affiliates pertinent to theirresearch, including fellows of U.S.-based NFCR. In addition, start-up firmswhich license the projects or are formed to further develop them can in thefuture compete for multiyear recoverable translational research grants orequity investments.


"We are tremendously excited to have heldso successful an inaugural BRACE Award Competition" said AFCR Chief ExecutiveOfficer Sujuan Ba, Ph.D., the organization's founder. "This new program aims toraise the profile of lab breakthroughs which can anchor future novel cancer therapiesand other technologies."


"The BRACE Award Competition programwill certainly help catalyze laboratory cancer research in the region," expressedAFCR Chairman of the Board Gary (Gee Nung) Wong, a partner of Hugill & IpSolicitors, which, along with NFCR and Esco Ventures, sponsored last night'sevent.

About the Asian Fund for Cancer Research

The Asian Fund for Cancer Research (AFCR) is anon-profit organization committed to curing cancers that have significantimpacts on Asian populations. Headquartered in Hong Kong, AFCR is uniquelypositioned to implement in Asia the newest cancer research discoveries andtechnologies from around the world, investigate the distinct causes of cancerin Asian populations through innovative genetic and molecular research, anddevelop more effective therapies tailored to the region's cancer patients. Formore information, visit


About Hugill & Ip Solicitors

Hugill & IpSolicitors is an independent law firm providing bespoke legal advice andexceptional client service to individuals, families, entrepreneurs andbusinesses, in Hong Kong and internationally. Hugill & Ip provides highquality legal services with integrity, professionalism and respect for clientsand the community. For more information, visit