CRT, the commercial arm of Cancer Research UK, and the University of Manchester today announced a research agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to generate new cancer drugs in the field of epigenetics.
Under the agreement, scientists in the Drug Discovery Unit at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, at the University of Manchester, will create potential new drugs which target a key protein involved in epigenetic regulation. Cancer epigenetics is the study of molecular modifications which cause changes to the gene activity in cancer cells – but which do not involve a change in the DNA sequence*.
Dr Donald Ogilvie head of the Drug Discovery Unit at Cancer Research UK’s Manchester Institute and part of Manchester Cancer Research Centre, said: “Epigenetic mechanisms are an increasingly important area of cancer research. Directly targeting these mechanisms using our drug discovery platform will provide exciting new opportunities in treating the disease – translating Cancer Research UK’s world-class research into cancer treatments and ultimately providing new options for cancer patients.”
GSK will provide starting materials for the project, and have exclusive option rights to molecules discovered under the collaboration. Cancer Research Technology is eligible to receive development milestone payments as the compounds advance, and royalty payments on net sales of products that result from the collaboration. Cancer Research Technology has the right to develop the molecules further if GSK declines to do so.
Dr Phil L’Huillier, Cancer Research Technology's director of business development, said: “This important agreement with GSK brings a fresh opportunity to tap into the most exciting areas of emerging cancer biology, and to develop new compounds and different approaches to stop cancer progressing.
“This partnership shows that by combining the experience and skills from industry and academia it is possible to develop projects that may otherwise have taken years to implement – speeding up the development of potential new treatments for cancer.”