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AZ's novel cancer drug to be trialled

Cancer Research UK and AstraZeneca are to take AZD-3965 – a first-of-its-kind drug to potentially treat a range of cancers – into clinical trial

Cancer Research UK and Cancer Research Technology (CRT) – the charity's development and commercialisation arm - have reached an agreement with AstraZeneca (AZ) to take compound AZD-3965 – a first-of-its-kind experimental drug to potentially treat a range of cancers - into clinical trial.

AZD-3965 targets the monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1) which is essential in cell metabolism. Blocking this transporter limits cancer cells' ability to generate energy, and decreases their ability to survive.

It is the sixth treatment to enter Cancer Research UK's Clinical Development Partnerships (CDP) scheme.

Les Hughes, global vice-president of cancer research at AZ, said: "Working with CRT will enable a compound with a very exciting mechanism to be evaluated in patients using Cancer Research UK's extensive clinical network. We look forward to this collaboration adding a new dimension to AstraZeneca's pipeline which contains a number of promising candidates already in development."

CDP is a joint initiative between Cancer Research UK's Drug Development Office and CRT, to progress promising anti-cancer agents that pharmaceutical companies do not have the resources to progress through early phase clinical trials.

Dr Ian Walker, licensing manager for clinical partnerships at Cancer Research Technology, said: "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. The lead clinical trial centre will be Newcastle's Cancer Research UK Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre Network, led by Professor Ruth Plummer.

Under the terms of the agreement, AZ can decide if they wish 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 CRT 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.

14th September 2010

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