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.
COVID-19 is delaying cancer research and treatment - helping to fight the pandemic is one of the things we can do right now to support people affected by cancer. CDD is experienced at running clinical trials and our expertise is being used in the global effort to help with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic whilst maintaining our ongoing clinical trials in cancer.
You can learn more here about our Coronavirus Spike1 clinical trial
We have a proven track record
We have over 25 years of 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 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 Amit Patel’s Cellular and CAR-T therapies team at the Christie Hospital in Manchester.
How repurposing a drug in a COVID-19 trial could benefit people with cancer
Tackling COVID-19 is vital to get the country back to normal and help get cancer services back on track. We speak with Professor Kev Dhaliwal, chief investigator of the SPIKE1 trial, which is testing if a drug called camostat can help stop people with COVID-19 developing severe disease and prevent them being hospitalised. The trial has now been given Urgent Public Health (UPH) status, which means that it’s a national priority trial and will get extra support to accelerate recruitment, opening the trial to treat patients in more areas of the UK.
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 I/II 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 recent 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 IIa 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.
CDD SPIKE1 trial funded by LifeArc tests a repurposed drug for treating COVID-19
Beating cancer remains our top priority and cancer patients have been severely affected by COVID-19. We have launched the SPIKE1 clinical trial to test whether camostat, a drug used for chronic pancreatitis, can be repurposed for COVID-19. Fully funded by LifeArc, SPIKE1 is a collaboration between our Centre for Drug Development, Edinburgh University and Latus Therapeutics. We used our logistical and clinical trials expertise to get this trial off the ground quickly. Meanwhile we are continuing to run our cancer trials and so this COVID-19 trial wont take away from our work on cancer.
CDD partner with University of Southampton & Touchlight Genetics to develop new therapeutic DNA vaccine
We're working together with Southampton and Touchlight Genetics to progress Touchlight’s novel vaccine TGL-100 into clinical trials targeting head and neck cancer (HNSCC). TGL-100 combines potent cancer antigens overexpressed in HNSCC with Touchlight Genetics’ novel DNA vector: Doggybone DNA™, to induce an anti-tumour immune response in the body. We will sponsor and manage the Phase I/II clinical trial which will combine TGL-100 vaccination with a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor.
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 I 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 I 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 on the development of BT7401, a CD137 agonist, through to a Phase IIa 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 I 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.