Cancer Research UK’s innovation engine, Cancer Research Horizons, and Newcastle University, have agreed an extension of their strategic drug discovery alliance with Astex Pharmaceuticals.
The alliance will continue to focus on the discovery of potential new cancer drugs with associated biomarkers, with the aim of providing an innovative route to the development of more effective cancer medicines.
The agreement will extend their current alliance by a further five years, which, if carried to term, will result in a continuous strategic drug discovery alliance spanning 15 years.
Dr Iain Foulkes, Chief Executive Officer of Cancer Research Horizons, said: “The extension of this alliance is a testament to the long-running success of the efforts of all three partners over nearly 20 years of existing collaboration. We are excited to see that this alliance will continue on under our new organisation, Cancer Research Horizons, which will provide the scale, agility and access to commercial expertise that any partner needs to accelerate promising discoveries out of the lab and into the hands of patients.”
Value of risk-sharing partnerships
The existing alliance portfolio includes multiple projects across target validation and early-stage hit-identification. The alliance has already resulted in the identification of an MDM2-p53 antagonist compound (ASTX295) which has entered clinical evaluation.
Under the alliance agreement, Astex retains an exclusive worldwide licence to take the most promising projects forward into pre-clinical and clinical drug development. Cancer Research Horizons and Newcastle University are eligible to receive milestone and royalty payments on any compounds that make it into clinical development and onto the market.
Steve Wedge, Chief Scientific Officer at Cancer Research Horizons and Professor of Stratified Cancer Medicine Discovery at Newcastle University, said: “This major academic-industry collaboration has had genuine success, and I am delighted to see it continue to build on the impressive track record of all partners. Risk-sharing partnerships like this allow us to bring together complementary expertise and enable us to maximise the development of our world-class research into cancer treatments.”