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Teva signs R&D alliance to pursue novel cancer drugs

Will work with Cancer Research on first-in-class oncology treatments
Teva Pharma

Teva Pharmaceuticals has formed an R&D alliance with the technology development arm of prominent UK charity Cancer Research.  

The pharma company will work with Cancer Research Technology (CRT) to research first-in-class cancer drugs that modulate DNA damage and repair response (DDR) processes in cancer cells.  

The processes play a key role in protecting cancer cells from the effects of chemotherapy and Teva and CRT hope to develop novel therapies based on DDR-related targets.  

Dr Michael Hayden, Teva's chief scientific officer, said: “The alliance provides Teva with the opportunity to research and develop selected and differentiated novel treatments targeting DDR processes.  

“With a focus on mechanisms and molecular targets related to the emergence of therapeutic resistance in cancer cells, the partnership also opens up the potential to expand the clinical utility and therapeutic effectiveness of Teva's current portfolio of oncology chemotherapeutic agents.”  

Although usually associated with generic drugs, which account for around half its revenues, the Israeli-headquartered company already has some branded cancer drugs.  

Its cancer portfolio includes a number of drugs acquired from its 2011 purchase of Cephalon, the largest of which is Treanda (bendamustine), a leukaemia drug that last year brought in sales of $608m.  

Teva's multi-project alliance agreement with CRT will see the research institute select new molecular targets from Cancer Research UK's portfolio of biological research in DDR.  

These targets will be validated to prove their therapeutic importance before progressing to the early stages of drug discovery in CRT's Discovery Laboratories.  

CRT and Teva will then jointly undertake chemical lead generation activities, with CRT inline to receive research funding and be eligible for milestone payments and royalties on projects that move through Teva's drug pipeline.

Dr Hamish Ryder, director of drug discovery at CRT's Discovery Laboratories, said: "Cancer Research UK scientists are carrying out exciting research in the area of DNA damage repair. Some cancer therapies work by targeting DNA damage response pathways in cancer cells, and finding new ways to block repair in tumours can boost the effectiveness of existing therapies.  

“This exciting alliance with Teva brings together the cutting-edge research funded by Cancer Research UK, CRT's expertise in progressing new drug targets and Teva's drug research and development capabilities in a compelling partnership."

Article by
Dominic Tyer

19th September 2013

From: Research

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