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 100 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 a dedicated manufacturing facility which is licensed to produce small molecule 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 CRUK's head office in London. We have similar functional teams to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, to take promising discoveries from exploratory and preclinical 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 and KWF collaborate to advance novel treatments into the clinic
Cancer Research UK and KWF Dutch Cancer Society, two of the worlds largest charitable funders of cancer research, announce a new multi-project strategic partnership to advance promising therapeutic agents for cancer through early clinical development. This international collaboration gives us a global outlook on cancer, broadening the potential benefit to patients worldwide.
Progress from CDD's novel antibody trial
Clinical data from our trial of Hummingbird’s anti-HER3 antibody HMBD001 for the treatment of people with HER3 driven cancer led by Professor Johann de Bono at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust were presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress (ESMO 2023).
Patients with rare cancers given hope by CDD's DETERMINE trial
Read in The Observer about 2 patients on DETERMINE, our large multi-drug precision medicine trial, who have seen their tumours reduce following treatment. DETERMINE offers people with rare cancer drugs already approved for more common cancers to see if they also work in rare cancers. The trial is led by Dr Matt Krebs at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Lynley Marshall at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Professor Gary Middleton at Birmingham Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre. DETERMINE is also treating patients in Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leicester, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and London, with other sites to follow.
First patient dosed in CDD trial of new cancer immunotherapy
Cancer Research UK and Sosei Heptares announce the first patient has been dosed with Sosei's cancer immunotherapy HTL0039732, a novel EP4 antagonist. Our Centre for Drug Development is Sponsoring and managing the trial, which is led by Dr Bristi Basu at Cambridge University Hospitals and Dr Debashis Sarker at Guys and St Thomas' London and with other sites across the Experimental Cancer Medicine Network to open soon.
CDD obtains MHRA approval for ALETA001 trial
The MHRA has granted CDD authorisation for the Phase I trial of first in class CAR T cell engager, ALETA001. The trial aims to treat people with B-cell lymphoma and leukaemia whose disease has progressed after receiving CD19 CAR T cell therapy, offering a new therapy for patients with limited treatment options. The trial will be managed, run and sponsored by our Centre for Drug Development and led by Dr Sridhar Chaganti at University Hospital Birmingham.
New class of antibody shows promise for cancer patients
MOv18 IgE is a novel class of antibody developed by researchers at King's College London that targets the folate receptor alpha antigen. Our Centre for Drug Development funded and supported the preclinical development of MOv18 IgE, then funded, sponsored and conducted the first in class Phase I clinical trial led by Professor James Spicer at King's College London. Read more about it in Nature Communications.
CDD and Lineage Cell Therapeutics report the results of cancer vaccine trial
We report the results of our Phase 1 clinical trial of first in class drug VAC2 in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.
CDD joins PRIME-ROSE to boost patient access to innovative treatments
PRIME-ROSE, a Europe-wide trial network with 24 partners in 17 countries led by Professor Kjetil Taskén and the University of Oslo, aims to boost patient access to precision cancer medicine (PCM) treatments. Our Centre for Drug Development joins as an associate partner in PRIME-ROSE to represent the UK as the lead organisation running DETERMINE, our PCM trial open to adult, young adult and paediatric patients with any rare cancer. Our collaboration with European colleagues to harmonise trial designs and share data will help speed up assessment of these treatments to bring new life-prolonging treatment options to people with cancer.
Results of CDD's first in class MOv18 IgE antibody trial
See the results of our first in class clinical trial of IgE antibody MOv18. 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.
CDD and UCB collaborate to advance novel antibodies into the clinic
Cancer Research UK and UCB, a global biopharmaceutical company, announce a clinical development collaboration to advance two of UCB's antibody candidates through clinical trials: UCB6114, a potential first in class antibody targeting gremlin-1, and UCB4594, an antibody targeting HLA-G. The trials will be developed, sponsored and managed by our Centre for Drug Development.
Hummingbird Bioscience exercise the option to licence CDD's clinical trial results of HMBD001
Cancer Research Horizons and Hummingbird Bioscience announce that Hummingbird Bioscience has exercised their option to licence the first in human clinical trial results of anti-HER3 antibody HMBD001. Our Centre for Drug Development is sponsoring and managing the trial which is led by Professor Johann de Bono at the Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research with other sites in Oxford, Newcastle and Manchester.
Novartis joins CDD's DETERMINE trial for rare paediatric and adult cancers
CDD welcomes Novartis on board. DETERMINE, a large multi-drug, precision medicine platform trial for adults and children with any rare cancer type, was set up by CDD in collaboration with the University of Manchester and Roche. Novartis is now joining as the second pharma partner to provide access to their targeted treatments for trial participants.
First of its kind Trialmap app to help improve patients' experience of our clinical trials
Our collaboration with Stitch creates a unique opportunity for each patient to manage their own trial journey with an app so we can hear directly from patients throughout the trial. CDD has worked with our patient involvement network to create the specially tailored app Trialmap which is now being piloted on one of our clinical trials. Patients on our trial will be able to view information about the trial, get reminders about appointments, contact CRUK's nurses for support and feedback their experiences. We will apply their insights to design more patient-centred clinical trials for the best possible experience for our patients.
DETERMINE trial opens to treat rare adult and children's cancers
Cancer Research UK, the University of Manchester and Roche open DETERMINE, a large multi-drug, precision medicine trial for adults and children with rare cancers who need more treatment options. DETERMINE is sponsored and managed by our Centre for Drug Development and led by Dr Matt Krebs at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust. We aim to find out if treatments already approved for treating other cancer types will also work in rare cancers. Roche is providing 7 of their targeted drugs and other pharmaceutical partners are expected to join and contribute their drugs as the trial progresses.
Innovation Passport granted to ALETA001
The MHRA has granted an Innovation Passport for ALETA001, Aleta Biotherapeutics' CAR T-cell engager, under the Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway (ILAP). ILAP aims to accelerate development of new medicines. ALETA001 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. The first clinical trial of ALETA001 is due open later in 2023, developed, managed and Sponsored by our Centre for Drug Development and led by Dr Sridhar Chaganti at University Hospital Birmingham.
CDD and Sosei Heptares join forces to advance cancer immunotherapy into the clinic
Cancer Research UK and Sosei Heptares, an international biopharmaceutical company and world leader in GPCR-focussed structure-based drug design and development, announce an agreement to bring Sosei's cancer immunotherapy HTL0039732, a novel selective EP4 antagonist, into the first clinical trial in people with cancer. HTL0039732 is proposed for a range of cancers including colorectal, gastro-oesophageal, prostate and head and neck cancer. The trial will be developed, sponsored and managed by 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.
Anti-tumour immune effects seen in CDD's trial of AMG319 published
Read in Nature about the immunological effects seen in our Phase II trial of AMG319, a PI3Kδ inhibitor. Intermittent PI3Kδ inhibition sustains anti-tumour immunity and reduces immune response adverse events. The CDD trial was led by Professor Christian Ottensmeier and conducted in collaboration with Amgen.
Results of CDD's first in class MCT1 inhibitor trial
See the results of our first in class clinical trial of MCT1 inhibitor AZD3965 in patients with solid tumours and lymphoma.
CDD's 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, TT702, for patients with a range of difficult to treat cancers. The trial is 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 continues
Our Centre for Drug Development funded and supported the preclinical development of MOv18 IgE, 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, Barinthus Biotherapeutics 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 is run and sponsored by our Centre for Drug Development and led by Professor Fiona Blackhall at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester.
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.
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.
Results of CDD's CAR T cell trial in neuroblastoma are published
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.
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.
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.