The compound, now called VAL 201, has been shown in pre-clinical tests in mice to stop growth of tumours which have been unresponsive to hormone treatments. VAL 201 blocks genes which can cause prostate cancer to develop. The compound has been shown to be effective in treating mice with breast and prostate cancer and is now rapidly progressing towards the first clinical trials in patients.
Under the terms of the deal, ValiRx has exclusive rights to use the compound to treat, prevent and diagnose cancer and other diseases. Cancer Research Technology – Cancer Research UK’s development and commercialisation arm – will receive milestone payments throughout the development and commercialisation of the compound and royalty payments for potential licensed treatments.
Currently, prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst men with 36,000 men being diagnosed and around 10,150 deaths each year in the UK. Of all men with advanced stage prostate cancer, hormone therapy will work for between eight and nine out of every 10. But many men will become resistant to the treatment at some stage. This does not appear to be related to the length of time a man is receiving treatment.
Dr Phil L’Huillier, Cancer Research Technology’s director of business management, said: “This partnership demonstrates CRT’s ability to maximise its broad network, having identified and licensed this project from Naples, and then in turn partnered it for further preclinical and clinical development with ValiRx.
“We will follow further trials to test its suitability as a new treatment to potentially increase survival from this disease with great interest.”
Under the terms of the licence with Cancer Research Technology, ValiRx will be responsible for performing the pre-clinical regulatory development of VAL 201 to prepare the compound for early clinical trials in patients. ValiRx will manage the commercialisation of potential treatments after clinical trials.
Satu Vainikka, CEO of ValiRx, said: “This is a significant and exciting opportunity for ValiRx and we look forward to continue working with CRT and in taking VAL 201 forward in its next stage of development as a potentially exciting treatment against prostate cancer.”
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