Dialog Box

Ethical Framework for Partnerships with Industry

Version 1.0 October 2019 


To successfully meet its objective to analyze biospecimens from a large number of cancer patients with high quality clinical data to improve cancer outcomes, ICGC ARGO has identified the need to establish strong partnerships with private biomedical and pharmaceutical companies. Partnerships between academia and industry have become especially relevant in translational cancer research, based on the need for interdisciplinary approaches and the growing complexity of scientific and economic challenges faced by the research community. Although the research motivations of universities and private industry may differ, at times, the important role of industry in enabling clinical research that improves outcomes for cancer patients is recognized. The opportunity exists for ICGC ARGO to collaborate with commercial partners of a variety of scales, including large companies, small businesses and non-profit organizations, as well as government agencies, to accomplish a common set of goals. Such endeavours can be mutually beneficial and have the potential to promote synergistic innovation; pool resources; break down barriers to intellectual property rights; and, enable the development of therapeutic products for the benefit of society.

The vast potential of public-private partnerships does not mean that these collaborations should proceed arbitrarily. The choice of industry partners made by ICGC ARGO will affect its public image and this reality should be given due consideration. Importantly, data misuse and of conflicts of interest, publicised by the media, can feed into public scepticism of industry research and undermine trust in science. To avoid such breaches of scientific integrity, ICGC ARGO needs to adopt a responsible attitude to collaborating with industry by adhering to a robust ethical framework that proactively addresses the ethical, legal and social issues.

We are currently in the process of updating this policy, and we kindly request you to stay informed for additional information coming in 2023.