The partnership brings together Cancer Research UK’s network of leading scientists with CRT’s cancer-focused target selection and validation expertise, and MRCT’s antibody screening and development capability. The collaboration will identify possible targets for the development of both antibody and small molecule therapeutics. The next stage of the collaboration will be to seek a clinical partner to accelerate the progress of promising compounds into the clinic.
New targets that increase cancer’s susceptibility to the immune system will be identified from Cancer Research UK’s funded research. MRC Technology will develop antibodies for suitable targets via its antibody screening platform, while CRT will focus on small molecule approaches.
Dr Hamish Ryder, director of discovery, Cancer Research Technology, said: “Immunotherapy is a hugely promising approach to cancer treatment and we’re delighted to extend our research in this area by partnering with MRC Technology.
“The aim of this alliance is to work together to identify highly novel immunotherapy targets and develop treatments that will complement the checkpoint inhibitors that are already having such an impact on patients.
“We want to move quickly to bring promising new drugs forward to treat cancer patients as soon as possible.”
Dr Justin Bryans, director, drug discovery at MRC Technology said: “Bringing together MRC Technology's antibody drug discovery and CRT's cancer biology expertise and applying them to cutting-edge discoveries from the Cancer Research UK network represents a very exciting prospect and will help us identify and develop new immune-oncology therapies, which already have a significant impact on cancer patients' lives.”
CRT and MRC Technology will be joint commercialisation partners for the collaboration and any resulting immunotherapy treatments.