The three-year alliance, aiming to develop a drugs pipeline targeting cancer metabolism, has been expanded to run to early 2015 – adding two further years for development of the existing portfolio of four projects and the possibility of at least two new projects being selected by CRT from Cancer Research UK’s research in cancer metabolism.
Cancer metabolism research investigates how cancer cells use energy to survive and grow, particularly under conditions of nutrient and hypoxic (low oxygen) stress faced by rapidly growing tumours. Cell metabolism is often altered in cancer cells and new drugs that control a cell’s metabolism could attack a tumour’s weak spot while sparing normal tissues.
Dr Phil L’Huillier, director of business development at CRT, said: “We’re delighted to extend this important alliance with AstraZeneca and thrilled with the great progress made so far. There are already several promising compounds being developed through the partnership.
“We’ve proved again that partnerships with industry such as this are a hugely successful formula for collaborative drug development. The expertise of CRT’s Discovery Laboratories and CRT’s unique access to the UK cancer research community combined with AstraZeneca’s extensive capabilities has created an innovative and productive model for early stage drug development.”
The alliance team will continue to work at CRT’s Discovery Laboratories in London and Cambridge, and AstraZeneca’s cancer research centre, Alderley Park, Manchester.
AstraZeneca will take the most promising projects forward into pre-clinical and clinical drug development.
CRT has already achieved multiple milestones and will receive further milestone payments and royalties on the projects that AstraZeneca progresses into clinical development.
Susan Galbraith, head of the AstraZeneca Oncology Innovative Medicines Unit at AstraZeneca, said: “Our continued alliance with CRT allows AstraZeneca to collaborate with leading scientists in the field of cancer metabolism and to further build on our efforts to identify new agents to target cancer cells’ dependence on altered metabolic pathways for their survival.”
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