Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

Cancer Research UK, Celgene to collaborate on new anti-cancer treatments

PBR Staff Writer Published 18 December 2017

Cancer Research Technology (CRT), a subsidiary of Cancer Research UK, has entered into collaboration with American biopharmaceutical firm Celgene for the discovery, development and commercialization of new anti-cancer treatments.

The drug-discovery partnership, which will last for five-years, will be focused on Messenger RNA (mRNA) translation.

According to Cancer Research UK, mRNA translation, which is the cellular process of assembling proteins, is a promising area of research.

The organization said that mRNA translation has the potential of yielding treatments that can act against a fundamental characteristic of cancer cells.

The drug discovery research and development activity will be handled by CRT which will also take the clinical candidates through phase one trials.

As per the agreement terms, Celgene will pay upfront an undisclosed fee to CRT. The biopharma company will also have the option to gain US rights to projects resulting from the collaboration, which will be based on payment of additional option fees.

Additionally, Celgene will have the option to get worldwide rights to such projects after the completion of phase one clinical trials. These will also depend on the payment of additional option fees.

CRT could potentially get downstream royalties and development milestones from licensed programs.

Cancer Research Technology CEO Iain Foulkes said: “This bold and exciting collaboration between one of industry’s leading innovators, Celgene, and CRT is part of our theme-based drug discovery approach and helps leverage our understanding of cancer biology and the needs of patients to drive the most promising discoveries into the clinic.

“This is our largest drug discovery collaboration to date and represents a major endorsement of the reputation and scale of our capacity and expertise in both drug discovery and clinical development by a leading industry partner.”

The partnership between CRT and Celgene marks an expansion of the former’s theme-based translational model that features six industry partnerships with the new collaboration.

CRT carries out the commercial activities of Cancer Research UK. It is into drug discovery research in themed partnerships and also into delivering different commercial partnering arrangements.

Image: The CRT-Celgene partnership will base their discoveries on mRNA translation. Photo: courtesy of Cancer Research UK.