Without a doubt the year 2020 was an extraordinary one. The world faced the unprecedented consequences of a health crisis, and the pandemic left its mark on Oncode Institute as well. Oncode research labs were closed for several weeks, clinical activities were postponed, travel restrictions and social distancing forced us to meet each other online and some of our activities were halted or delayed. When the dust settled, we were happy to conclude that while COVID-19 made an impact on Oncode activities, the institute is still on track to reach its goals.
2020: accelerating to full speed
Finishing up on our third year in full operation, we realize two important things. First and foremost: our hard work is paying off. Some numbers: the Oncode community made great scientific strides forward and published a total of 375 peer reviewed publications in 2020, of which ten in the high impact journals Nature, Cell and Science. Oncode has funded 13 Clinical Proof of Concept studies to date and 7 state-of-the-art technology driven Oncode core-facilities are now operational. The fifth Oncode spin-off saw the light of day, over a 1000 people attended our meetings, Oncode’s strategic funding programme has a success rate of 35% and the valorization team brokered 183 research related agreements with industry in 2020.
But how to judge these numbers? What do they tell us about our progress towards achieving Oncode´s strategic objectives? Difficult questions, but still we asked a committee of renowned international experts in oncology research to provide an assessment of Oncode’s performance. This International review committee ranked Oncode’s activities & achievements as ‘very good’ to ‘exceptional’. To quote Sussan Gasser, chair of the committee:
“Oncode has been extremely successful in creating a structure within which synergy between fundamental cancer research and the translation of its discoveries can flourish”
So, we are on the right track and we are moving full speed ahead. This automatically brings us to our second main conclusion: we are not done yet. Oncode was set up as a long-term endeavor and in 2020 Oncode started to lay out the strategic plan for its next phase (2022 – 2027). Oncode will build on the strong fundaments which have been established in our first phase. On top of that, we have the ambition to expand our activities to ensure even better that Oncode innovations will reach the clinic to impact patients’ lives.
This digital annual report magazine guides you through our most important results of last year. For each of our three pillars (science, collaboration and valorization) you can read up on our progress. Moreover, you get to meet three of our Oncode Investigators a bit better as they talk about their experiences within Oncode. Enjoy reading our 2020 Annual Progress Report.
The Oncode Management Board.
Chris De Jonghe
Scientific Director & Head of the Institute