Cancer Research UK and NU agree three-year research Astex Pharma deal

pharmafile | August 17, 2017 | News story | Research and Development, Sales and Marketing Astex pharmaceuticals, Cancer Research UK, Newcastle University, biotech, drugs, pharma, pharmaceutical 

Cancer Research UK and Newcastle University have announced that their existing research collaboration with Astex Pharmaceuticals will be extended for a further three years. The alliance was formed five years ago, aiming to discover new drug candidates to be brought through to patients.

The agreement sees researchers in structural and cellular biology from all three organisations focus their attention upon the development of novel small molecule therapeutics. Particularly, the aim is to develop new treatments for cancer and to discover biomarkers that could potentially change treatment or indicate new drug targets.

Dr Iain Foulkes, Cancer Research UK’s Executive Director of Research and Innovation, said: “We’re delighted to extend this major collaboration which accelerates the development of Cancer Research UK’s world class work into new treatments for patients. Promising new compounds resulting from this partnership are now progressing towards the next stage of development. Multi-project alliances like this are powerful engines for innovation and drug discovery and this announcement underlines Cancer Research UK’s exceptional track record of bringing these together successfully.”

Collaborations between universities, research organisation, such as CRUK, and pharma companies are becoming increasingly common. Such alliances allow for a win-win situation on all sides, as pharma companies are able to leverage the R&D capabilities of the universities and research organisation, driving down the cost of discovering a potential drug, while they, in turn, are able gain milestone payments and royalties on any potential therapeutic identified – allowing them to continue their own work.

CRUK and NU will be eligible for any such payments if Astex chooses to take any of its potential compounds into clinical development. Astex will be hoping this research alliance proves as successful as its arrangement with pharma giant Novartis, which saw the biotech (now owned by Otsuka Pharmaceutical) contribute to the CDK4/6 inhibitor, Kisqali, that received FDA approval earlier this year.

Dr Harren Jhoti, President and Chief Executive Officer of Astex, said: “The extension of our agreement with Newcastle and Cancer Research UK underlines the success of our existing alliance and the importance we place on collaboration with world leading academic research groups to strengthen our efforts to discover new treatments for patients. We look forward to continuing our important work and to continued success in bringing new compounds into development.”

In terms of continuing the project, it was announced that there is an option to further extend the agreement near the end of the three-year term.

Ben Hargreaves

Related Content

Pfizer sign

Delayed Pfizer vaccine dose gives 3.5 times more immunity, study shows

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is around three and a half times more effective when dosed …

Amgen flag

AstraZeneca and Amgen asthma drug shows positive results in Phase III trial

AstraZeneca and Amgen’s new tezepelumab drug for the treatment of severe asthma has shown superiority …

India report record number of COVID deaths as bodies drift down Ganges

India yesterday reported the country’s highest COVID-19 death total for a single day, with 4,205 …

Latest content