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Cancer Research UK and AstraZeneca to trial first-of-kind drug

Cancer Research UK and Cancer Research Technology have reached an agreement with AstraZeneca to take compound AZD-3965, a first-of-its-kind experimental drug that could treat a range of cancers, into clinical trial.

AZD-3965 works by targeting monocarboxylate transporter 1. Because monocarboxylate transporters carry monocarboxylates to and from cell membranes and are essential to cell metabolism, blocking it limits cancer cells’ ability to generate energy and decreases their ability to survive.

AZD-3965 is ready to be taken into early-phase clinical trials and will be the sixth treatment to enter Cancer Research UK's Clinical Development Partnerships (CDP) scheme, which progresses promising anti-cancer agents that pharmaceutical companies do not have the resources to progress.

Dr Ian Walker, licensing manager for clinical partnerships at Cancer Research Technology, commented: ‘It is fantastic to see a drug from our CDP programme progressing toward a clinical trial to be tested as a potential new treatment for cancer patients.

‘This clinical trial simply would not have been possible without the CDP initiative and it demonstrates how Cancer Research UK and Cancer Research Technology can work with industry to develop anti-cancer drugs that would otherwise remain on companies’ shelves.’

Cancer Research UK will fund the phase I/IIa clinical trial of up to 60 patients to start in 2011, and the trial will be managed by its Drug Development Office. Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca can decide whether it wishes to develop the drug further based on the clinical trial data results at the end of the phase I/IIa trial.

If it chooses not to, the rights will be given to Cancer Research Technology to secure an alternative partner and ensure the drug has every possible chance of reaching patients. In either case, the charity will receive a share of any future revenues generated by the drug.

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