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Cancer Research UK and AstraZeneca announce innovative deal for promising anti-cancer compound

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by Cancer Research UK | News

19 May 2008

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Cancer Research UK and Cancer Research Technology (CRT) – the charity’s development and commercialisation arm – today announced an innovative new arrangement to progress into clinical development a potential anti-cancer compound from AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca’s AZD0424 – a tyrosine kinase inhibitor* – is the first drug to enter the charity’s Clinical Development Partnerships (CDP) programme. CDP was launched in 2006 to support the continuing development of promising anti-cancer agents. It offers companies an alternative model to traditional out licensing, which enables them to retain rights to the compound throughout the development programme. The compound is expected to enter phase I trials within the next 18 months.

Dr Keith Blundy, chief executive of CRT, said: “This Clinical Development and Option Agreement is very exciting for the charity and CRT. The signing of our first deal in the Clinical Development Partnership programme demonstrates how the charity and CRT can work with industry to provide innovative solutions that advance cancer discoveries and drugs towards the patient”.

Under the terms of the partnership deal, Cancer Research UK’s highly experienced Drug Development Office will conduct the clinical trials at no cost to AstraZeneca. In addition, AstraZeneca retains the option to assume further development and marketing of the drug, with the charity receiving a share of any revenues. Potential downstream royalties have not been disclosed.

Dr Keith Blundy added, “Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have to prioritise which agents they take into clinical development. This, inevitably, leaves potentially effective treatments on companies’ shelves. AZD0424 is an interesting drug with real potential for patient benefit”.

Brent Vose, VP Astra Zeneca’s Oncology Therapeutic Area said: “AstraZeneca is committed to the research and development of new, targeted anti-cancer therapies to improve the lives of cancer patients. We have a number of promising candidates in development and look forward to seeing the results of some key studies this year.

“In the meantime, we are actively pursing innovative new ways to progress the many new drug candidates being discovered by our dedicated cancer scientists. The CDP initiative presents an exciting opportunity to supplement our own development activities and ensure that we can develop as many of our candidates as possible. We’re looking forward to working with Cancer Research UK on this potential new treatment.”

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “Increasing the number of new treatments for cancer patients is one of Cancer Research UK’s key goals. Opening up a seam of previously unmined but promising new anti-cancer drugs through the CDP programme, will be instrumental in achieving this.”


For media enquiries, please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8300 or, out of hours, the duty press officer on 07050 264 059.