Sareum, the specialist cancer drug discovery business, The Institute of Cancer Research (“the ICR”) and Cancer Research UK’s commercial arm, Cancer Research Technology Limited (“CRT”) are pleased to announce the selection of a preclinical development candidate from their joint research collaboration.
The joint research collaboration targets Chk1 (Checkpoint Kinase 1). Chk1 is important in controlling a cancer cell’s response to DNA damage, which may be a consequence of the cancer itself, or intentionally caused by chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Preclinical model studies carried out at the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the ICR demonstrate that the Chk1 candidate, dosed via the oral route, in combination with the chemotherapeutics gemcitabine or irinotecan significantly reduces cancer growth rates compared to treatment with the same dose of chemotherapeutic without the Chk1 inhibitor.
Further preclinical studies demonstrate the potential for the collaboration Chk1 development candidate to reduce tumour growth when given as a sole treatment in models of certain cancer types that are believed to be dependent on Chk1 for survival.
Sareum’s CEO, Dr Tim Mitchell, commented: “The selection of a preclinical development candidate is a major milestone for the collaboration that will significantly enhance the licensing package. Our research indicates that the selectivity and oral dosing properties of this candidate give it a competitive advantage.”
Professor Paul Workman, Director of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the ICR, said: "The significant progress made so far is very pleasing and highlights the value of partnerships between industry and academic drug discovery groups like ours. There is further important development work to be done so that patients can one day benefit from these drugs, and we look forward to the progress of the compound towards the clinic.”
Dr Philip Masterson, Associate Director at Cancer Research Technology, said: “We are working to select the right commercial partner to take the Chk1 programme into clinical development. Our ultimate aim is that one day, this drug will become available to treat a range of cancers and save more lives from the disease.
Our scientists have shown that this drug is promising in preclinical studies, and we hope further research will prove that it can be used on its own or alongside chemotherapy and radiotherapy to destroy cancer cells in patients.”