Medivir and Cancer Research Technology Team Up to Develop A New Class of Cancer Drugs

Swedish biotech Medivir and Cancer Research Technology (CRT) are teaming up to develop a new class of drugs that have shown promise in various cancer types.

Medivir and CRT, Cancer Research UK’s commercialization and development arm, said that they have partnered to develop a new class of drugs targeting ADAM8, a cell surface protein that has been linked to tumor survival, cell invasion and metastasis.

Under the partnership, CRT and Medivir will conduct a two-year research program to optimize and develop small molecules targeting ADAM8. Medivir will receive an exclusive, global license to research, develop, manufacture and commercialize any ADAM8 inhibitors resulting from the collaboration. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, however the companies did say that CRT will receive an upfront payment and future success milestones, as well as royalties on sales which are shared with the academic collaborators.

“Medivir’s significant expertise in protease inhibitor design coupled with CRT’s proven track record in drug development will hopefully pave the way for an exciting new class of drugs for treating cancer. Exploratory studies indicate that ADAM8 is an attractive target across many times of cancer, and pontetially other diseases driven by inflammation, and we look forward to further exploring that promise through this innovative collaboration,” said Dr. Keith Blundy, chief executive officer of Cancer Research Technology.

In mice with pancreatic cancer, blocking ADAM8 prevented the spread of the disease, shrunk tumors and significantly extended lifespan. This is through to be due to ADAM8’s involvement in cell adhesion, cell migration, inflammation and the growth of blood vessels, which is are key processes that a number of cancers rely on for growth and development. High levels of ADAM8 have been linked with more aggressive tumors including those in pancreatic, breast, brain, prostate, lung, head and neck, and kidney cancers.

“We are very glad and excited to see this collaboration come to life. The synergy of expertise between Medivir and our Laboratory forms an excellent platform for successful exploration of this first-in-class approach to targeted therapy against ADAM8. This really is ‘bench-to-bedside’ research at its best,” said Professor Jörg Bartsch, head of the TransMIT-Project Division for Research in Neuro-Oncology at TransMIT.

Professor Bartsch will lead the research in collaboration with Medivir. Bartsch previously worked at King’s College London where the initial patent application was filed by King’s College IP and Licensing team. Further proof-of-concept studies were funded by Cancer Research UK at King’s College.

“This collaboration is a demonstration of our commitment to advance oncology drug discovery at Medivir and we are pleased to partner with such a renowned institution such as Cancer Research UK, and with Professor Bartsch, a leading researcher in the field,” said Niklas Prager, CEO of Medivir.

Source: Medivir AB

Last updated: 4/13/15; 2:45pm EST

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