Cancer Research UK agrees largest drug discovery collab to date

pharmafile | December 15, 2017 | News story | Medical Communications, Research and Development Cancer Research UK, Celgene, biotech, drugs, pharma, pharmaceutical 

Cancer Research UK has announced that its subsidiary, Cancer Research Technology (CRT), and Celgene have agreed a drug discovery collaboration.

The deal will see Cancer Research Technology take the lead on finding new candidates centred around mRNA translation. This is the process whereby cells construct proteins and could hold potential for targeting certain characteristics of cancer cells.

The collaboration will see Celgene pay a fee upfront to CRT and, in return, Celgene has the option to acquire the US or global rights to any compounds that develop out of their work together.

Should Celgene choose to take the option, it would have to pay additional fees, as well as any royalties and agreed milestone payments from licensed programs.

 Though the financial details of the deal remain undisclosed, the collaboration has been revealed to be the largest that CRT has signed so far.

Dr Iain Foulkes, Cancer Research Technology’s CEO, said: “This bold and exciting collaboration between one of industry’s leading innovators, Celgene, and CRT is part of our theme-based drug discovery approach and helps leverage our understanding of cancer biology and the needs of patients to drive the most promising discoveries into the clinic.

He continued, “This is our largest drug discovery collaboration to date and represents a major endorsement of the reputation and scale of our capacity and expertise in both drug discovery and clinical development by a leading industry partner.”

CRT has signed six deals with companies in the industry to date, including deals with Monopar and Medivir.

The partnership comes not long after Celgene revealed the outcome of different collaboration at ASH, to great fanfare. The biotech’s work with BlueBird Bio to produce a CAR-T therapy was shown to have an enormous 86% overall response rate in patients with advanced multiple myeloma.

While, back in July, it was revealed that Celgene had also entered into a collaboration to develop a PD-1 inhibitor, with BeiGene. All steps showing that there is a definite focus at the biotech of strengthening its position in oncology.

Ben Hargreaves

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