CRT, University of Manchester and GlaxoSmithKline work together to generate new cancer drugs

2013-11-29 00:00:00

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.”


Notes to editors

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*Epigenetic alterations are believed to be as important as genetic mutations in a cell’s transformation to cancer. Mechanisms of epigenetic silencing of tumor suppressor genes and activation of oncogenes include: alteration in methylation patterns, histone modifications, and dysregulation of DNA binding proteins. Understanding epigenetic mechanisms holds great promise for cancer prevention, detection, and therapy.

About Cancer Research Technology

Cancer Research Technology (CRT) is a specialist commercialisation and development company, which aims to develop new discoveries in cancer research for the benefit of cancer patients. CRT 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. CRT facilitates the discovery, development and marketing of new cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling technologies. CRT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK, the world's leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. Further information about CRT can be found at

Manchester Cancer Research Centre

The Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) is a partnership founded by The University of Manchester, including the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Cancer Research UK. The MCRC brings together the expertise, ambition and resources of its partner organisations in the fields of cancer treatment and clinical research and provides outstanding facilities where researchers and clinicians can work closely together. The aim of the MCRC is to improve understanding of how cancer develops, in order to translate basic and clinical research into new diagnostic tests and treatments that benefit cancer patients. More information is available at:

About Cancer Research UK

  • Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research
  • The charity’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 every pound donated.
  • Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty 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.

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