UK-Norway partnership to speed up cancer drug discovery

Image of the earth showing the UK and Scandinavia

Cancer Research UK and the Norwegian Cancer Society (NCS) have announced a new multi-project strategic partnership to maximise the unique drug development capabilities of both countries.

Under the partnership, NCS intends to share funding and expertise to accelerate the development of cancer drug candidates with the team at Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development (CDD).

Both parties will have opportunities to identify and nominate potential projects from academia and biotech companies for collaboration and progression to first-in-human studies.

Director of Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development, Dr Lars Erwig, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with the NCS, who will be vital in helping us progress more of the most promising early-stage clinical candidates into first-in-human studies. Collaboration with like-minded organisations such as the NCS is critical to our work.”

Potential projects will be evaluated through the CDD’s review process, including both an internal assessment and an external review by its New Agents Committee. Suitable projects will then be brought into the CDD post-approval for its experienced team to plan, sponsor and run an early-phase clinical trial.

Cancer Research UK’s innovation unit, Cancer Research Horizons, will lead on any subsequent later-stage development which may include out-licensing to a suitable third party.

General Secretary at NCS, Ingrid Stenstadvold Ross said: “This is a significant milestone. We have long been concerned that it takes far too long for life-saving innovations to reach patients. This will be a new role for the NCS, but we truly believe that charity-led drug development offers many advantages – especially the fact that we can take on projects that have high potential patient benefit but are too financially risky for the industry, for example in rare cancers.”

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, DDW

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