Our Centre for Drug Development
Centre for Drug Development
We translate today's science into tomorrow's medicine
At the CRUK Centre for Drug Development (CDD) our goal is to bring much needed new treatments to people with cancer
We are the partner of choice for early phase cancer drug development. The academic, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors across the globe trust us to realise the full potential of their research.
We have a proven track record
We have 30 years experience partnering with industry and academia to turn promising research ideas into novel therapies, including antibodies, imaging agents, cell therapies, vaccines and targeted small molecules. Our portfolio rivals that of a medium-sized pharmaceutical company in size, but in form reflects our unique strategy as a charity-funded organisation.
AGENTS UNDER ACTIVE DEVELOPMENT
YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
AGENTS HAVE BEEN REGISTERED AS MEDICINES
As the world's only charity-funded drug development facility, our pioneering research is driven purely by the goal to see scientific breakthroughs bring benefits to patients sooner. Our priorities include:
- First in class therapies
- First in human clinical trials
- Projects where we can use pharmacodynamic and stratification biomarker technologies to identify and progress new treatments which have the greatest potential for patient benefit
We have the capabilities and infrastructure needed to demonstrate clinical potential.
With a team of over 120 drug development scientists and operational staff, our expertise spans preclinical and medical sciences, regulatory affairs, quality assurance, project management, legal, drug safety, clinical operations and data management.
We have two manufacturing facilities which are licensed to produce the small molecule and biotherapeutic drugs we use in our clinical trials, something unique in the non-commercial sector in Europe.
Although we considered IMA950 very promising, our small company was lacking the internal resources to start clinical development of the vaccine. The CRUK Centre for Drug Development made it possible to perform an extensive multicentre trial.
Immatics Biotechnologies GmbH
Working in partnership is key to achieving our ambitions and we have a number of flexible business models that allow us to collaborate effectively with you.
Our partnership models include:
- Clinical Development Partnerships, working with industry to bring new life to the most scientifically promising agents
- Academic Sponsorship, offering full development of promising agents which come from academic research
We are always looking to expand our portfolio of innovative, patient-focussed projects.
Our leadership team of outstanding drug development professionals are responsible for our day-to-day business operations and our strategic development.
The CDD has a team of over 100 scientists and operational staff, the majority of which are based at the CRUK head office in London. We have similar functional teams to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, to take promising discoveries from exploratory and pre-clinical phases through to sponsorship and into clinical trials.
News and features
Keep up to date with the latest news and developments from our Centre for Drug Development.
CDD working in collaboration with Cancer Research Horizons
Cancer Research UK's new and ambitious approach to driving innovation in the development of new treatments for patients, combines the power of academia and industry. Cancer Research Horizons brings under one umbrella CRUK’s established drug discovery laboratories, network of world-class biology, cutting-edge technology platforms and clinical expertise, offering a unique R&D portfolio. Partners gain access to our extensive network of 4,000 world-leading cancer researchers and a discovery research portfolio investment of over £400 million annually.
CURATE trial treats the first patient
Cancer Research UK and the Teon Therapeutics announce the first patient has been treated in the CURATE trial of Teon’s first in class A2BR-specific antagonist, TT-702, for patients with a range of difficult to treat cancers. The trial will be run and sponsored by our Centre for Drug Development and led by Professor Johann de Bono at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
Clinical development of MOv18 IgE is to continue
Our Centre for Drug Development funded and supported the preclinical development of MOv18, then sponsored and conducted the first in class Phase I clinical trial led by Professor James Spicer at King's College London. MOv18 IgE is a novel class of antibody that targets the folate receptor alpha antigen. King's immuno-oncology spin-out Epsilogen has now raised funds from Novartis and other investor partners to enable continued development of the antibody to treat ovarian cancer. Read more about it from Guy's and St Thomas' Biomedical Research Centre, King's College London, and Fiercebiotech.
Celebrating life-saving research
On World Cancer Day our Centre for Drug Development delivered a fascinating webinar giving Cancer Research UK supporters a closer look at our life-saving research.
CDD's tailored patient involvement in clinical trials
Read on Applied Clinical Trials about how the team at our Centre for Drug Development makes sure people affected by cancer are at the heart of our work, helping us develop trials and medicines that are better tailored to patients’ needs.
CDD's MAGE trial of lung cancer immunotherapy vaccine doses first patient
Cancer Research UK, Vaccitech plc and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research announce the first patient has been dosed in the MAGE vaccine trial. The trial will see if the novel immunotherapeutic vaccine, VTP-600, combined with standard chemotherapy and anti-PD1 drugs improves outcomes for people with non-small cell lung cancer. The trial will be run and sponsored by our Centre for Drug Development and led by Professor Fiona Blackhall at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester.
CDD partners with cancer researchers across the UK to find drugs to treat rare cancers
Cancer Research UK, the University of Manchester and Roche announce a partnership to run DETERMINE, a large multi-drug, precision medicine platform trial for adults and children with rare cancers who have run out of other treatment options. DETERMINE will be sponsored and managed by our Centre for Drug Development and will use targeted treatments that are already approved for treating other cancer types. Roche will provide 7 of their targeted drugs and other pharmaceutical partners are expected to join and contribute their drugs as the trial progresses. Read about DETERMINE in the PharmaTimes.
First patient dosed in hard to treat cancers
Cancer Research UK and Hummingbird Bioscience announce that the first patient has been dosed in our first in human trial of Hummingbird's anti-HER3 antibody HMBD001. The trial aims to treat patients with advanced HER3-positive solid tumours, including colorectal, head and neck, melanoma, breast, gastric, ovarian, prostate, and bladder cancers. Our Centre for Drug Development is sponsoring and managing the trial, which is led by Professor Johann de Bono at the Institute of Cancer Research with other sites in Oxford and Newcastle.
CDD obtain approval for the clinical trial of Hummingbird Bioscience's anti-HER3 antibody
Hummingbird Bioscience announce that our Centre for Drug Development obtained regulatory approval for the first in human phase 1 clinical trial of HMBD-001. The trial will first look at safety and tolerability in patients with advanced cancers that overexpress HER3 and recommend a phase 2 dose. This will be followed by further evaluation of preliminary anti-tumour activity in biomarker-selected patients, as well as HMBD-001 in combination with other cancer treatments. Cancer Research UK will fund and conduct the phase 1 trial in the UK.
CDD collaborate with Aleta Biotherapeutics to advance blood cancer therapy into the clinic
Cancer Research UK and Aleta Biotherapeutics have signed an agreement to progress the early phase clinical development of ALETA-001, their CAR-T cell engager. ALETA-001 has been developed to benefit people with B-cell lymphoma and leukaemia whose disease has progressed after receiving CD19 CAR-T cell therapy, aiming to offer a new therapy for patients with limited treatment options. Our Centre for Drug Development will develop, sponsor and conduct the first in human Phase 1/2a clinical trial of ALETA-001, which will be led by Dr Sridhar Chaganti at University Hospital Birmingham.
CDD partner with Teon Therapeutics to develop first in class drug into the clinic
Cancer Research UK and Teon Therapeutics announce they have signed an agreement to progress the early phase clinical development of TT702, Teon’s first in class A2BR-specific antagonist. The Phase 1/2 clinical trial in prostate and other cancers at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital will be sponsored and managed by our Centre for Drug Development.
Why does Cancer Research UK foster partnerships between industry and academia?
Read our article in Nature Reviews Cancer about how research funders like CRUK are uniquely placed to develop and promote collaborations between multiple partners, including industry, in a positive and ethical way.
Autolus publishes results of CDD's CAR T cell trial in neuroblastoma
We report results from our trial at Great Ormond Street Hospital in collaboration with UCL and Autolus Therapeutics plc. These results are the first early evidence that GD2 CAR T cells show activity in solid tumours without causing neurotoxicity.
CDD and Lineage Cell Therapeutics announce results of cancer vaccine trial
We report encouraging preliminary results from our ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial of first in class drug VAC2 in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.
First patient dosed in CDD Phase IIa trial of Bicycle Therapeutics' Bicycle® Toxin Conjugate BT1718
Our trial of first in class drug BT1718 has treated a patient in the Phase 2a expansion portion. The trial is in patients with squamous non-small cell lung cancer and other MT1-MMP expressing cancers with a high unmet need.
Lineage Cell Therapeutics exercises early option to Cancer Research UK's AST-VAC2 immuno-oncology programme
Lineage announced it is acquiring data from CDD's ongoing first in class Phase 1 trial of AST-VAC2 in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Cancer Research UK will also provide input on the potential use of the VAC platform in the infectious disease space to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.
Crescendo Biologics and Cancer Research UK to collaborate on development of new Humabody® immunotherapy CB213
Cancer Research UK announce a partnership with Crescendo Biologics to progress exploratory development of CB213 by our Centre for Drug Development for a Phase 1 clinical trial in people with cancers of high unmet medical need. CB213 is a novel bispecific PD-1 x LAG-3 antagonist, a next-generation checkpoint inhibitor, designed to deliver safer, more effective therapy in patients with cancers resistant or refractory to PD-1 blockade alone.
Trial data from a new class of immunotherapy at AACR Virtual Annual Meeting 2020
Early results from our MOv18 trial, led by Professor James Spicer at Kings College London, were presented at the virtual annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. It is the world’s first clinical trial of a new class of immunotherapy drugs which fight cancer using one of the body’s natural defences.
Bicycle Therapeutics and Cancer Research UK partner to develop new Bicycle® immuno-oncology candidate BT7401
Cancer Research UK to collaborate with Bicycle Therapeutics on the development of BT7401, a CD137 agonist, through to a Phase 2a clinical trial managed and sponsored by our Centre for Drug Development.
First in human trial for new lung cancer immunotherapy
Cancer Research UK, Vaccitech Oncology Limited (VOLT) and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Oxford announce a new partnership to bring a novel immunotherapeutic vaccine to people with non-small cell lung cancer. The trial, to be run and sponsored by our Centre for Drug Development, will see if combining the new vaccine with standard chemotherapy and anti-PD1 drugs improves the effectiveness of these treatments and also provokes a safe anti-cancer immune response, improving outcomes for lung cancer patients.
Cancer Research UK sign manufacturing agreement with BioInvent
HMBD-001, Hummingbird Bioscience's anti-HER3 antibody, is being jointly developed with our Centre for Drug Development for a CDD-sponsored Phase 1 clinical trial. We have signed an agreement with BioInvent, based in Lund Sweden, to manufacture the antibody to GMP. It will then be passed to our CRUK Formulation Unit at the University of Strathclyde to produce the final drug that will be given to patients.
Cancer Research UK and Hummingbird Bioscience join forces to advance novel antibody drug into clinical trials
Cancer Research UK, the world’s leading cancer charity, and Hummingbird Bioscience, an innovative systems-biology enabled biotechnology company, announce a partnership to develop Hummingbird’s anti-HER3 antibody HMBD-001 for the treatment of people with HER3 driven cancer. The trial will be developed, sponsored and managed by our Centre for Drug Development.
Patient centricity in clinical trials – how important is it?
Watch Professor Peter Johnson National Clinical Director for Cancer at NHS England and Margaret Grayson MBE, a cancer patient and member of CRUK’s Patient Involvement Network, discuss the patient's role in clinical trials.