The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, Cancer Research Technology (CRT), London and Nuevolution, Copenhagen have entered into a drug discovery collaboration to identify novel lead candidates for cancer treatment.
Researchers will use Nuevolution’s screening technology, Chemetics, to screen libraries each of millions of DNA-tagged compounds to identify those that act on a key protein in the stress response pathway, which has an important role in cancer cell survival and resistance to cancer treatments. This state-of the-art screening technology allows potent drug leads to be identified quickly, accurately and from very large and complex compound mixtures.
The three-way deal between the ICR, Nuevolution and CRT, the commercial arm of Cancer Research UK, builds on an existing collaboration between CRT and Nuevolution, which aims to identify drug leads that block the activity of several challenging cancer targets of therapeutic interest.
Under the new deal, the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the ICR and Nuevolution will collaborate to screen a key target within the stress response pathway. Researchers from the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the ICR will provide detailed insights and scientific expertise on the specific stress pathway target as well as their extensive experience in cancer drug discovery and development. Nuevolution will provide its proprietary Chemetics® technology, screening expertise and medicinal chemistry expertise to optimise drug candidates.
The parties have an option to co-develop promising compounds arising from this collaboration. The agreement is open-ended and allows for the screening of additional targets.
Professor Paul Workman, Deputy Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Director of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit said: “The stress response pathway plays a key role in allowing cancer cells to survive and to develop drug resistance – so it is increasingly being seen as an exciting source of future drug targets. But for some of these targets it is technically very challenging to identify prototype small molecule drugs. The new collaboration between the ICR, Cancer Research Technology and Nuevolution will allow us to screen very rapidly and efficiently for compounds that are able to bind to a key component of the stress response pathway that we have identified as especially important, and could help us to identify new drug candidates far more quickly than would otherwise be the case. By working in partnership we can accelerate the potential for patient benefit.”
Dr Phil L’Huillier, Cancer Research Technology’s director of business management, said: “Our role is to build global industry-academic partnerships to bring the best technologies and expertise together to develop new treatments for cancer patients – ultimately saving more lives from the disease. This exciting international collaboration combines global expertise and resources to exploit the untapped biology of the stress response pathway. This work will accelerate the identification of potential new cancer drugs though an innovative approach to scan for DNA ‘barcode’ tags on promising new molecules – extending the existing relationship between Nuevolution and CRT.”
Thomas Franch, CSO, Nuevolution A/S said: “We are delighted to enter this project and to expand our present collaborations with ICR and CRT. The project will address a highly challenging target for which small molecule compounds is not easily identified using conventional screening methods. We hope to identify lead compounds using the Chemetics® technology and look forward to moving this exciting project forward together with the world-leading team at ICR.”