GSK partner shows progress in cancer epigenetics

Cancer Research Technology, the development and commercialisation arm of charity Cancer Research UK, has received a “success payment” from GlaxoSmithKline from a research collaboration.

The collaboration is focused around cancer epigenetics – the way cancers control how and when genes are turned on or off. Drugs that disrupt this signalling could be used to treat many cancers.

The Drug Discovery Unit at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute at the University of Manchester is working with GSK on developing promising early molecules to target this mechanism.

The unit then created potential new drug development candidates that target a key protein involved in epigenetic regulation.

CRT will receive development milestones and royalties on sales of products from the collaboration, and the right to develop molecules if GSK rejects them.

Cancer Research UK has helped develop several drugs that have made it to market, including Schering-Plough’s brain cancer drug Temodar (temozolomide), and most recently, Johnson & Johnson’s prostate cancer drug Zytiga (abiraterone).

Dr Donald Ogilvie, head of the Drug Discovery Unit at Cancer Research UK’s Manchester Institute, said: “The Drug Discovery Unit aims to develop new treatments ready for the clinic as efficiently as possible. By working alongside GlaxoSmithKline scientists we’ve been able to reduce the risk in the development of these drugs and make them more likely to progress through to clinic to achieve our goal of getting new treatments to cancer patients sooner.”

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