Aptamers are synthetic alternatives to antibodies that can be designed as therapeutics to disrupt disease targets and pathways.

The partnership intends to build on the initial data showing aptamers with therapeutic potential that can selectively target a key gene fault involved in driving this group of cancers.

Tony Hickson, Cancer Research UK’s chief business officer, said: “We’re thrilled to support this collaboration, building on excellence in drug discovery at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute. By bringing together the best minds in academic cancer research with the rigour and drive of industry partners, we can accelerate the development of potentially life-saving new treatments.”

The Cancer Research UK Biotherapeutic Drug Discovery Project Award aims to increase the availability of biotherapeutic drugs for the management of cancer. Aptamers are a relatively young technology, and this will allow the assessment of their potential in a wider therapeutic setting.

Arron Tolley, Aptamer Therapeutics’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are excited to partner with Cancer Research UK and the University of Manchester. This is further validation of the potential of our platform to generate therapeutic molecules for further development.”