Cancer Research Technology (CRT), the commercial arm of Cancer Research UK, and Denmark-based drug discovery company Nuevolution A/S, have signed a collaboration deal to discover anti-cancer drug molecules targeting several key proteins.
The collaboration aims to identify drug leads that block the activity of a number of challenging cancer therapeutic targets. This could lead to the development of first-in-class novel treatments for cancer patients.
Through the partnership, drug candidate molecules which home in on selected targets will be identified by screening millions of diverse small molecules using Nuevolution’s proprietary Chemetics® technology. This uses innovative DNA labelling to enable small molecule drug screening – a method to identify small molecules which bind to a target protein – on an unprecedented scale.
Thomas Franch, CSO of Nuevolution, said: “We are delighted to enter into this collaboration and believe that a strong synergy between the CRT and Nuevolution capabilities will provide for discovery traction on tough-to-drug targets.
CRT will provide expert information about the biology of the targets through Cancer Research UK’s network of world-class scientists. The first targets have already been approved by CRT and Nuevolution for entry into the collaboration.
In addition, CRT through its internal Discovery Laboratories will provide drug discovery expertise including in-vitro screening assays and cellular activity assays for the target proteins, to select the most promising molecules to develop as potential drugs.
The further pre-clinical development of any promising small molecules identified will form the basis of a separate deal to be agreed in the future between CRT and Nuevolution.
Dr Hamish Ryder, director of drug discovery at CRT's Discovery Laboratories, said: “This deal is exciting as it will allow us to address a number of “low-tractability” cancer targets, which have proved difficult for ourselves and others to establish a foothold in drug discovery”.
“This important partnership combines CRT’s drug discovery expertise and Cancer Research UK’s strong academic research base with powerful technology from Nuevolution to enable 100s of millions of compounds to be rapidly assessed – which we hope one day will be a starting point for new options for cancer patients and increased survival.”