ICR and Merck renew cancer drug discovery alliance

Research laboratory

Merck and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, UK, have renewed their strategic alliance in the discovery and development of new cancer drugs.

Scientists in the Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery at the ICR will work with researchers at Merck to discover and develop new small-molecule inhibitors of an exciting new class of cancer targets.

The multi-target, multi-year collaboration involves significant financial and staff commitments from both parties, including Merck funding nine full-time research posts at the ICR.

Professor Olivia Rossanese, Head of the Division of Cancer Therapeutics and Director of the Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery at the ICR, said: “This new agreement demonstrates our commitment to translating our research programmes into the clinic in collaboration with industry partners – of whom we have more than 100 at the ICR – and ultimately to delivering new, life-saving treatments to cancer patients.”

The Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery at the ICR is one of the world’s leading academic centres of its kind, which is now independent from Cancer Research UK. Scientists at the centre have discovered 21 drug candidates since 2005, of which 13 have reached clinical trials.

In 2021 the ICR formally opened a new £70m building on its site in Sutton, South London, which now houses around 300 scientists working across a full range of disciplines in cancer drug discovery. It is fuelled by specialised Centres including its Centre for Target Validation and Centre for Protein Degradation.

Dr Jon Wilkinson, Director of Business and Innovation at The Institute of Cancer Research, said: “Our long-term alliance with is a great example of a long-term, effective partnership that involves genuine collaboration, integration and shared responsibility – and of great science in understanding exciting, innovative targets that could lead to new cancer drugs.”

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