How we develop new treatments

At the CRUK Centre for Drug Development (CDD) we translate today’s science into tomorrow’s medicine. The academic, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors across the globe trust us to realise the full potential of their research. This is why we are the partner of choice for early phase cancer drug development. 

Our mission is to make promising new treatments available to people with cancer. 

We offer you a centre of excellence in early phase drug development, from manufacturing and preclinical phase to the full clinical trial operations needed to demonstrate the clinical potential of your novel cancer agent. Our expertise spans preclinical, medical sciences, regulatory affairs, quality assurance, project management, legal, drug safety, clinical operations and data management.

Our focus is on developing new cutting edge therapies that can’t progress without our support. We have a pioneering and diverse portfolio from small molecules and biologics to novel combinations.

We collaborate to develop academic and industry discoveries into novel therapies. Our successful and flexible business models, coupled with our knowledge and expertise, attract pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to work with us, including AstraZeneca, GSK, Merck and Immatics.

The benefits of developing your drug with us

We specialise in:

•    Preclinical development
•    First-in-class agents
•    First-in-man clinical trials
•    Phase 1 trials
•    Novel combinations of registered and unregistered agents
•    Early Phase 2 proof of principle
•    Development of novel assays and biomarkers supporting trial endpoints

Our trials are conducted to international quality standards (ICH GCP) and European regulations and the data can be used to support regulatory submissions to the FDA and EMA. Clinical trial safety is overseen by our in-house medics and an external panel of experts on our Protocol Safety and Review Board.

We embrace and pioneer new technology and methodology to ensure we work efficiently and to a high standard.

Manufacture of your novel agent is supported by our Biotherapeutics Development Unit (BDU) and Formulation Unit who:

  • Develop clinical formulations to EU Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards
  • Manufacture reliable high quality supplies of new therapies at all stages from laboratory to clinic

We have a world class portfolio covering a wide spectrum of cancers and diverse therapy types including small molecules, antibodies, imaging agents, cell therapies and vaccines.

Over half our current portfolio involves first-in-man clinical trials.

The number of cancer drugs in our Phase I portfolio equals many top 10 pharmaceutical companies.

We have tested over 140 potential new cancer medicines and treatments, 5 of which are available to patients:

  • Zytiga™  (abiraterone) for prostate cancer
  • Temodar™ (temozolomide) for brain cancer
  • Etopophos™ (etoposide) for lymphoma, sarcoma, leukaemia, lung, brain and testicular cancers
  • Alimta™ (pemetrexed) for lung cancer
  • Zinecard™ or Savene™ (dexrazoxane) for reducing chemotherapy side effects

Treatments we played a pivotal role in developing like temozolomide and abiraterone are providing more tomorrows for people with cancer around the world.

As part of the world’s largest charity dedicated to cancer research, we are experts in our field and are connected to an unrivalled network of specialists and early phase clinicians.

We offer you unique access to world leading research laboratories and scientific investigators to develop novel assays and biomarkers.

We have a close relationship with a wide network of Clinical Trials Units and Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres with decades of experience in early phase trials.

Interested in working with us?

We have a variety of models for collaborating with industry and academia including:

Learn more about partnerships and joint funding opportunities in our brochure (PDF, 380KB), or email us at


Contact us

Speak to our Clinical Partnerships Team for more information and advice on project applications.

Cancer Research UK Centre for Drug Development brochure

Find out how we can help you realise the full potential of your research.

Share this page