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Published on 14 April 2008

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New class of anti-cancer drug

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The Institute of Cancer Research announces that a drug candidate, first identified during a research collaboration with UK biotechnology company Piramed Limited, is in clinical development. The trials are currently underway in the UK at The Institute of Cancer Research, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and in the USA.

The candidate, GDC-0941, representing a new class of anti-cancer drug, was discovered at Piramed and is based on a chemical series first identified during an earlier collaboration involving The Institute, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Cancer Research UK and Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Company (now Astellas Pharma Inc).

The drug target is PI 3-kinase, a key intracellular enzyme involved in a wide range of cancers. GDC-0941 is highly efficacious in pre-clinical disease models not only as monotherapy, but also in combination with certain approved and experimental therapies.

GDC-0941 has been the subject of pre-clinical evaluation at both Piramed and Genentech to whom Piramed licensed the compound as part of the collaboration agreement between the two companies signed in November 2005. Under the terms of the latter agreement, Genentech is responsible for all clinical development.

Professor Paul Workman, Head of Cancer Research UK Centre for Cancer Therapeutics at The Institute, said: “This is a significant milestone in the development of a new drug that has the potential to treat a broad range of cancers in which PI 3-kinase is important. It is also an example of how academia can work alongside the biotechnology industry to discover innovative drugs.”

The Institute of Cancer Research



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