Centre for Drug Development: Strategy and portfolio

Our strategic priorities

Our ambition is to accelerate the delivery of the next generation of medicines to the patients who need them.

As the world's only charity-funded drug development facility, our strategy is uniquely focused by the drive for patient benefit. We are particularly interested in innovative projects, and our strengths are in:

  • 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 maintain a broad portfolio across therapeutic modalities including antibodies, imaging agents, cell therapies, vaccines and targeted small molecules.

Our pipeline

Our development portfolio contains 11 small molecules and 12 biotherapeutic agents (June 2021). Browse the agents below.


Target or technology




CD19, CD20
Aleta Biotherapeutics Lymphoma. leukaemia Exploratory
CB213 Humabody
Crescendo Biologics Solid tumours,  
PD1 lapsed/refractory

DNA vaccine

Touchlight Genetics HNSCC Exploratory


Hummingbird Bioscience Solid tumours, breast, 
others tbc
Trial set up


Vaccitech Oncology &
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
Solid tumours, lung,
Trial set up



Lineage Cell Therapeutics


Phase 1


CD32b, FcγRIIB

BioInvent, Blood Cancer UK

Lymphoma, B cell, chronic 
lymphocytic leukaemia 

Phase 1


α-folate R

King's College London

Solid tumours

Phase 1

There are 2 other undisclosed biological therapeutic programmes currently in development: a protein and a multi-agent basket trial of several antibodies


Target or technology






Bicycle Therapeutics

Solid tumours

TT702 adenosine, 
Teon Therapeutics Solid tumours,  
Trial set up




Solid tumours, lung, 
colorectal, ovarian

Phase 1/2




Solid tumours,  
lymphoma, B cell

Phase 1
BT1718 MT1-MMP Bicycle Therapeutics Solid tumours, lung, 
Phase 1/2
Camostat TMPRSS2, 
Spike protein
University of Edinburgh      Covid-19 Phase 2
There are 2 undisclosed programmes in development, a small molecule and a multi-agent basket trial of several small molecules

Portfolio news

Aleta logo

CDD collaborate with Aleta Biotherapeutics to advance blood cancer therapy into the clinic

June 2021
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. Our Centre for Drug Development will develop, sponsor and conduct the first in human Phase 1/2a clinical trial, to be led by Dr Amit Patel’s Cellular and CAR-T therapies team at the Christie Hospital in Manchester.

teon logo

CDD partner with Teon Therapeutics to develop new drug into the clinic

December 2020
Teon Therapeutics announce a collaboration with Cancer Research UK's Centre for Drug Development to progress TT702, Teon’s first-in-class A2BR-specific antagonist, to a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in prostate and other cancers. Our Centre for Drug Development will sponsor and manage the clinical trial. 

CR UK NHS image

Partnership with University of Southampton & Touchlight Genetics to develop therapeutic DNA vaccine

July 2020
Cancer Research UK announced a Clinical Development Partnership with Southampton and Touchlight Genetics to progress TGL-100, Touchlight’s novel therapeutic DNA vaccine, into clinical trials targeting head and neck cancer (HNSCC). TGL-100 combines potent cancer antigens overexpressed in HNSCC with Touchlight’s novel DNA vector: Doggybone DNA™, to induce an antigen-specific anti-tumour immune response in the body. Our Centre for Drug Development will sponsor and manage the Phase 1/2 clinical trial which will combine TGL-100 vaccination with a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor. 

Lineage Cell Therapeutics exercises its option early to CDD immuno-oncology programme

May 2020
Lineage announce it is exercising its option to acquire data early from our Centre for Drug Development's ongoing first in class phase 1 trial of ASTVAC2 (also called VAC2) in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Immunogenicity data from the clinical trial supports the Mechanism of Action. Cancer Research UK will 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 logo

Partnership with Crescendo Biologics to develop novel bispecific humabody

May 2020
Cancer Research UK announce a Clinical Development Partnership to progress CB213, Crescendo’s novel bispecific Humabody® immunotherapy, into clinical trials targeting 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. Our Centre for Drug Development will sponsor and manage the Phase 1 clinical trial. 

Bicycle logo

Bicycle Therapeutics and Cancer Research UK partner to develop new Bicycle® immuno-oncology candidate BT7401

January 2020
Cancer Research UK to collaborate with Bicyle 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.


Cancer Research UK and Hummingbird Bioscience join forces to advance novel antibody drug into clinical trials

August 2019
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. 

Our track record of marketed drugs


Discovered at the CRUK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research, and developed by the Centre for Drug Development before licensing to Janssen Biotech, Abiraterone acetate (Zytiga®) is a hormonal therapy for prostate cancer.


Pemetrexed (Alimta®) is indicated for pleural mesothelioma and non-small cell lung cancer.


One of our earliest successes, discovered by CRUK-funded scientists and developed by the CDD in the 1980s and 90s, Temozolomide (Temodal ®) is used worldwide as the frontline drug for glioblastoma and astrocytoma.

Etoposide phosphate

Etoposide phosphate (Etopophos®) is a drug used in small cell lung cancer and testicular tumours that no longer respond to other treatments.


Discovered by CRUK scientists at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research in a programme built on breakthroughs from CRUK's basic science, we progressed the early development of the PARP inhibitor Rucaparib (Rubraca®).


Formestane (Lentaron®) is a selective aromatase inhibitor that was indicated for the use in breast cancer, but was subsequently superseded by third-generation inhibitors such as letrozole.

Contact us

We're looking to partner with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and academic scientists who require resource, capabilities or expertise to develop new agents for the treatment of cancer.

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