Cancer Research UK and AstraZeneca announce innovative deal for promising anti-cancer compound

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK and Cancer Research Technology (CRT) - the charity’s development and commercialisation arm - today announced an innovative new arrangement to progress into clinical development a potential anti-cancer compound from AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca's AZD0424 - a tyrosine kinase inhibitor* - is the first drug to enter the charity's Clinical Development Partnerships (CDP) programme. CDP was launched in 2006 to support the continuing development of promising anti-cancer agents. It offers companies an alternative model to traditional out licensing, which enables them to retain rights to the compound throughout the development programme. The compound is expected to enter phase I trials within the next 18 months.

Dr Keith Blundy, chief executive of CRT, said: "This Clinical Development and Option Agreement is very exciting for the charity and CRT. The signing of our first deal in the Clinical Development Partnership programme demonstrates how the charity and CRT can work with industry to provide innovative solutions that advance cancer discoveries and drugs towards the patient".

Under the terms of the partnership deal, Cancer Research UK's highly experienced Drug Development Office will conduct the clinical trials at no cost to AstraZeneca. In addition, AstraZeneca retains the option to assume further development and marketing of the drug, with the charity receiving a share of any revenues. Potential downstream royalties have not been disclosed.

Dr Keith Blundy added, "Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have to prioritise which agents they take into clinical development. This, inevitably, leaves potentially effective treatments on companies’ shelves. AZD0424 is an interesting drug with real potential for patient benefit".

Brent Vose, VP Astra Zeneca's Oncology Therapeutic Area said: "AstraZeneca is committed to the research and development of new, targeted anti-cancer therapies to improve the lives of cancer patients. We have a number of promising candidates in development and look forward to seeing the results of some key studies this year.

"In the meantime, we are actively pursing innovative new ways to progress the many new drug candidates being discovered by our dedicated cancer scientists. The CDP initiative presents an exciting opportunity to supplement our own development activities and ensure that we can develop as many of our candidates as possible. We’re looking forward to working with Cancer Research UK on this potential new treatment."

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "Increasing the number of new treatments for cancer patients is one of Cancer Research UK’s key goals. Opening up a seam of previously unmined but promising new anti-cancer drugs through the CDP programme, will be instrumental in achieving this."

ENDS

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Notes to Editor

*Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors

A tyrosine kinase inhibitor is a type of drug that blocks the effects of the enzyme 'tyrosine kinase'. Tyrosine kinases (TKs) are a group of chemical messengers (enzymes) produced by body cells. TKs are part of the cell signalling system that tells cells when to divide and grow. Genes that control tyrosine kinase can be abnormal in cancer cells. The abnormal TK then sends too many signals to the cancer cell telling it to grow. Drugs that block tyrosine kinase are called 'tyrosine kinase inhibitors' or TKIs. They can help to stop cancers from growing. Drugs such as imatinib (Glivec) and erlotinib (Tarceva) are examples of tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Cancer Research Technology

Cancer Research Technology Limited (CRT) is a specialist commercialisation and development company, which aims to develop new discoveries in cancer research for the benefit of cancer patients. CRT works closely with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. CRT facilitates the discovery, development and marketing of new cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling technologies. CRT is wholly owned by Cancer Research UK, the largest independent funder of cancer research in the world.

Cancer Research UK's Drug Development Office

Cancer Research UK has an impressive record of developing novel treatments for cancer. It currently has a portfolio of around 40 new anti-cancer agents in preclinical development, Phase I or early phase II clinical trials. Since 1982, the Cancer Research UK Drug Development Office has taken over 100 potential new anti-cancer agents into clinical trials in patients, five of which have made it to market and many others are still in development. These include temozolomide, a drug discovered by Cancer Research UK scientists, that is an effective new treatment for brain cancer. Six other drugs are in late development phase III trials. This rate of success is comparable to that of any pharmaceutical company.

AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in research, development, manufacturing and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and supplier for healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of US $29.55 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infection product sales. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.

About Cancer Research UK

  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to beat cancer.
  • Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer.
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