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Cancer Research UK joins forces with Teon to develop new cancer drug

Published on 02/03/21 at 10:28am

Cancer Research UK and Teon Therapeutics have entered a collaboration agreement to progress the early phase clinical development of Teon’s new cancer drug.

The partnership focuses on Teon’s potentially first-in-class small molecule adenosine A2B receptor antagonist TT-702, for the treatment of multiplecancers including prostate and triple-negative breast. The drug specifically targets the A2B receptor, which is over-expressed on various types of tumour cells and immune cells.  

High levels of adenosine in the tumour microenvironment activate the A2B receptor, triggering tumour cells to grow and suppress T-cells, and allowing the cancer cells to avoid immune detection. TT-702 prevents the A2B receptor being activated by high levels of adenosine, which prevents cancer cell growth and enhances the anti-tumour immune response. 

Under the terms of the clinical development partnership, Cancer Research UK will sponsor the first-in-human Phase I/II clinical trial of TT-702, which will be led by a team at The Institute of Cancer Research in London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. The trial is expected to begin in the second half of 2021.

Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development will work closely with Teon throughout the collaboration, and will share clinical insights as they emerge to help guide the new drug’s future development strategy.  

Teon retains the rights to further develop and commercialise TT-702, and will receive the results of the clinical trial from Cancer Research UK in return for undisclosed, success-based milestone and royalty payments. 

Dr Nigel Blackburn, Cancer Research UK’s Director of Drug Development, said: “We are delighted to be working with Teon to advance TT-702 into human trials, and the drug makes an exciting addition to our growing portfolio of innovative anti-cancer agents.

“Finding new ways to target difficult-to-treat cancers remains a research priority for Cancer Research UK, and despite the challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are continuing to leverage new partnerships like Teon, so we can bring potentially life-saving treatments closer to patients who need them.” 

Ken Horne, President and Chief Operating Officer at Teon Therapeutics, also commented: “The partnership with the Centre for Drug Development provides an ideal route for Teon to pursue early-phase clinical development of TT-702, and leverage the incredible resources that Cancer Research UK brings.”

Darcy Jimenez

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