This week in drug discovery (27-31 March)

News round-up for 27-31 March by DDW Digital Content Editor Diana Spencer.  

As March draws to a close, this week’s key announcements have demonstrated the breadth of international approaches to tackling cancer, with vaccines, proenzymes, immunotherapies and antibody-based treatments all currently under investigation around the world. 

The top stories: 

Drug discovery partners from UK and Japan target macrophages 

Macomics and Ono Pharmaceutical have entered a worldwide drug discovery collaboration agreement to develop new immuno-oncology antibody drugs against a novel macrophage target of interest in cancer. 

Merck buys full rights to cancer drug Bavencio from Pfizer 

Merck has bought the exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialise anti PD-L1 antibody Bavencio (avelumab) from Pfizer. 

Improving immuno-oncology therapies using tumour modelling 

Astellas Pharma and MIMETAS, which specialises in human disease modelling, have entered a strategic partnership to develop treatments for cancer. 

Proenzyme suppresses TGF-β pathway in pancreatic cancer 

A Spanish study has shown that PRP, a mixture of two proenzymes, trypsinogen and chymotrypsinogen, suppresses the TGF-β pathway and the tumour microenvironment in pancreatic cancer. 

Chinese regulator approves personalised cancer vaccine trial 

Likang Life Sciences has been granted implied approval by China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) for the clinical trial of its innovative personalised neoantigen-targeted vaccine LK101 Injection for advanced solid tumours. 

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