PRESS RELEASE


Cancer Research UK and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, join forces with Merck in new drug discovery alliance

2018-01-17 00:00:00

Cancer Research UK’s Commercial Partnerships Team and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, announced a multi-project collaboration and licensing deal with Merck, a leading science and technology company, to discover and develop new anticancer drugs, today (Wednesday).

This multi-project deal follows previous single project drug discovery collaborations and a more recent target validation collaboration between Merck and Cancer Research UK’s Cancer Therapeutics Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR).

The parties will collaborate on three independent research projects spanning target hit discovery to preclinical candidate nomination. This work will progress the discovery and development of potential cancer drugs, as well as develop biomarkers for target engagement and patient selection.

Under the terms of the deal, Merck has worldwide rights to take molecules discovered through the collaboration forward into clinical development. Cancer Research UK and the ICR will receive milestone payments based on the achievement of research and development, regulatory and sales goals plus royalty payments on net sales of future products discovered or developed under the agreement. Any payments made to Cancer Research UK and ICR will be invested into future lifesaving research.

Professor Raj Chopra, director of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with Merck to accelerate the ICR’s world-leading research in understanding cancer pathways, identifying drug targets and discovering cancer drugs. 

 “We hope that through the diverse projects in this collaboration, we can identify molecules that are effective against a number of different tumour types. Together we can create innovative new treatments for the benefit of patients.”

Dr Iain Foulkes, Cancer Research UK’s executive director of research and innovation, said: “This collaboration with Merck and one of Cancer Research UK’s major drug discovery units will help accelerate the development of potential new therapies for cancer patients. It is an exciting example of how successful academic networks and the scale of industry can combine to advance scientific and clinical discoveries.”

“This latest deal demonstrates Cancer Research UK’s commitment to exploiting the huge number of translational possibilities that arise from our extensive network of world-leading research scientists and clinicians.”

ENDS

For media enquiries contact Kathryn Ingham in the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 5475 or, out of hours, on 07050 264 059.

Notes to editors

About Cancer Research UK’s Commercial Partnerships Team

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. Our specialist Commercial Partnerships Team works closely with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. The team develop promising ideas into successful cancer therapeutics, software, devices, diagnostics and enabling technologies. This helps to accelerate progress in exciting new discoveries in cancer research and bring new treatments to patients sooner.

Visit http://commercial.cancerresearchuk.org/

Cancer Research UK’s commercial activity operates through Cancer Research Technology Ltd. (CRT), a wholly owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK. It is the legal entity which pursues drug discovery research in themed alliance partnerships and delivers varied commercial partnering arrangements.

About Cancer Research UK

 

  • Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.
  • Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
  • Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on vital donations from the public.
  • Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival in the UK double in the last forty years.
  • Today, 2 in 4 people survive their cancer for at least 10 years. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, 3 in 4 people will survive their cancer for at least 10 years.
  • Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
 

About The Institute of Cancer Research, London
The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is one of the world's most influential cancer research organisations.

Scientists and clinicians at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) are working every day to make a real impact on cancer patients' lives. Through its unique partnership with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and 'bench-to-bedside' approach, the ICR is able to create and deliver results in a way that other institutions cannot. Together the two organisations are rated in the top four centres for cancer research and treatment globally.

The ICR has an outstanding record of achievement dating back more than 100 years. It provided the first convincing evidence that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer, laying the foundation for the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease. Today it is a world leader at identifying cancer-related genes and discovering new targeted drugs for personalised cancer treatment.

A college of the University of London, the ICR is the UK’s top-ranked academic institution for research quality, and provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction. It has charitable status and relies on support from partner organisations, charities and the general public.

The ICR's mission is to make the discoveries that defeat cancer. For more information visit http://www.icr.ac.uk

About Merck

Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.