CRT and the Drug Discovery Unit receive success payment from GlaxoSmithKline for research collaboration

07 October 2016

Cancer Research Technology (CRT) – the development and commercialisation arm of Cancer Research UK – has received a success payment from GlaxoSmithKline resulting from its collaboration developing molecules targeting cancer epigenetics.

Under the agreement, scientists at the Drug Discovery Unit at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute received promising early molecules for the project from GlaxoSmithKline and 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 has the right to develop the molecules further if GlaxoSmithKline declines to do so. 

The Drug Discovery Unit will support GSK scientists developing these drugs and will continue to develop other compounds as part of the collaboration.

Epigenetics – the way cells control how and when genes are turned on or off – can be disrupted in many cancers meaning these drugs could be used to treat many cancers.

Dr Donald Ogilvie, head of DDU, said: “We’re extremely pleased with the success of this project, which has allowed us to research a challenging area and ensure that it’s an effective way of targeting cancer.

“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.”

Dr Phil L’Huillier, Cancer Research Technology's director of business development, said: “We’re delighted that our Manchester Drug Development Unit’s work has been so successful, triggering an early success payment from GlaxoSmithKline. This showcases our world class drug development capabilities.

“Drugs targeting epigenetics are a growing area of research and we’re pleased to be making an impact in this area. Being at the forefront of this research alongside one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies means we have a real opportunity to develop new drugs for cancer patients.”