These promising new drugs have been developed by scientists at CRT’s Discovery Laboratories with support from Cancer Research UK-funded scientists at King’s College London.
PAK is involved in cell growth and survival and is overexpressed in many cancers including ovarian, breast, pancreatic, melanoma and lung. Scientists hope that the PAK inhibitors will block the activity of overexpressed PAK protein – killing cancer cells. Although researchers have linked PAK with tumour development, there are no approved compounds available on the market.
Under the terms of the agreement, Pangaea Biotech will be responsible for research and development of the PAK inhibitors, taking CRT’s compounds through clinical development. CRT will receive undisclosed upfront and downstream payments.
CRT and Pangea Biotech will work collaboratively to complete lead optimisation, then Pangaea will assume responsibility for pre-clinical and clinical development.
Javier Rivela, CEO of Pangaea Biotech, said: “This strategic agreement maximises the capabilities of both parties, with CRT focusing on the earlier stages of development involving specialised medicinal chemistry work, and Pangaea on regulatory preclinical development, early stage clinical trials and development of biomarkers, where our main abilities and experience lie.
“We are excited about this partnership as it marks the beginning of what we expect to be a fruitful long-term collaboration with one of the most important global players in cancer drug development.”
Dr Phil L’Huillier, CRT’s director of business management, said: “It’s fantastic to see this new investment in Cancer Research UK-funded science that has progressed through our Discovery Laboratories. We look forward to working with Pangaea to develop the PAK inhibitor for clinical trials.”
CRT’s Discovery Laboratories build on Cancer Research UK’s investment in world-class research and focus on forming drug discovery alliances with industry, to develop potential novel therapies based on the cancer targets identified in academic research.