Oncode Accelerator kicks off

Patients at the center of innovative cancer drug development

Cancer is one of the most significant health challenges of our time. It remains a challenge to provide every cancer patient with the right treatment. Oncode Accelerator aims to change this by innovating the way we develop cancer treatments, ensuring the patient is at the heart of the process. Thanks to funding previously awarded by the National Growth Fund, more than 30 public and private partners start this new way of working today.


To discover, develop, and bring a new drug to the market is a lengthy, high-risk, and expensive process. Furthermore, it often turns out that a new treatment is only effective in a subset of the patient population it was developed for.

Oncode Accelerator aims to address this by innovating the preclinical phase of therapy development. Friso Smit, co-executive director of Oncode Accelerator, says: "In this early phase of development, we want to put the patient at the center. We do this through three innovation platforms: well-defined patient cohorts, organoid models derived from patients, and predictive models based on artificial intelligence."

By connecting more than 30 public and private organisations, Oncode Accelerator consolidates existing expertise in the Netherlands within the field of four types of cancer therapies: small molecules, biologics, cell and gene therapies, and therapeutic vaccines.

"By intertwining these three innovation platforms within this existing infrastructure, we believe we can predict much earlier and more accurately which patient will benefit from a new treatment," says Prof. Dr. Miriam Koopman, internist-oncologist at UMC Utrecht. She leads the platform focused on defining patient cohorts accurately. "This is crucial since we, as practitioners, often aren't sure if a prescribed treatment will be effective for a specific patient." By linking the preclinical development process with clinical practice, Oncode Accelerator increases the likelihood that candidate drugs prove their worth in large-scale clinical trials.

Impact on patients and the economy

The innovations Oncode Accelerator introduces aim to lead to better outcomes for patients. "Through demonstration projects, candidate drugs are developed based on our innovative approach," Friso Smit explains. "The goal is twofold: to show that we can develop therapies more efficiently and, at the same time, deliver tangible results for patients." Additionally, it is expected that Oncode Accelerator will have a significant economical impact.

Fred Dom, CEO of Saber Bio and chairman of the Oncode Accelerator Supervisory Board, concludes: "With Oncode Accelerator, we have a unique opportunity to get innovative cancer treatments to the patient faster, shortening the time to market. The resources made available to realize this ambition make the Netherlands very attractive for (inter)national investors and to attract top talent.”

Building on the strong foundation of Oncode Institute

Oncode Institute, along with other organizations, took the initiative to establish Oncode Accelerator, building on Oncode Institute's reputation as an effective national collaboration in cancer research and valorization. Oncode Institute unites over 800 top cancer researchers from academic and medical institutions in the Netherlands to stimulate breakthrough innovations in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Oncode Accelerator builds on this scientific foundation to create an impact for cancer patients. Together, the two initiatives represent the first significant steps towards discovering and developing new therapeutic solutions for cancer.