15 Sep 2010   |   News

Cancer Research UK and AstraZeneca sign deal to trial deprioritised cancer drug


The charity Cancer Research UK has reached an agreement to take one of AstraZeneca’s preclinical cancer treatments into clinical trials as part of its Clinical Development Partnerships (CDP) scheme.

CDP was set up by Cancer Research UK to progress promising anti-cancer agents that have been de-prioritised and are languishing on the shelves of pharmaceutical companies.

AZD-3965 targets monocarboxylate transporter 1, which is essential in cell metabolism. Blocking this transporter limits the ability of tumour cells to generate energy, and decreases their ability to survive. The drug is the sixth treatment to enter the CDP scheme.

Ian Walker, licensing manager for clinical partnerships at Cancer Research Technology the technology transfer arm of Cancer Research UK, said, “This clinical trial simply would not have been possible without the CDP initiative and it demonstrates how Cancer Research UK and Cancer Research Technology can work with industry to develop anti-cancer drugs that would otherwise remain on companies’ shelves. We will continue to work to set in place future similar agreements with industry.”

Les Hughes, global vice president of cancer research at AstraZeneca, said: “AstraZeneca is committed to the discovery and development of new, targeted anti-cancer therapies to improve the lives of cancer patients but if we are going to be successful in delivering new treatments for cancer patients, it will be important for charities, academics and industry to work collaboratively.”

“Working with CRT will enable a compound with a very exciting mechanism to be evaluated in patients using Cancer Research UK’s extensive clinical network. We look forward to this collaboration adding a new dimension to AstraZeneca’s pipeline.”

Cancer Research UK will fund the Phase I/IIa clinical trial of up to 60 patients to start in 2011.

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca can decide if it wants to develop the drug further, based on the clinical trial data results at the end of the Phase I/IIa trial. If it chooses not to, Cancer Research Technology has the right to look for an alternative partner. In either case, the charity will receive a share of any future revenues generated by the drug.

Nigel Blackburn, director of drug development at Cancer Research UK’s Drug Development Office, said one of Cancer Research UK’s key aims is to boost the number of new treatments for cancer patients. “Our strong links with industry have enabled us to make great progress by launching this clinical trial of a promising compound that without this partnership may have remained on a shelf gathering dust.”

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