Cancer Research UK's commercial arm, Cancer Research Technology (CRT), has entered into two partnership agreements with the University of Manchester and British biopharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca to develop new cancer drugs.
Under the first agreement, Manchester scientists at Cancer Research UK's Paterson Institute for Cancer Research will develop new drugs that have the potential to target a vital protein involved in DNA damage response.
The preliminary compounds for development of the drug will be delivered by AstraZeneca, which will help in identifying the shape and structure of the target and to assess its interaction with the compounds.
As part of the partnership, rights to the resulting molecules will be held by AstraZeneca with options for further development, with CRT receiving royalty payments upon reaching certain milestones.
CRT can also choose to continue development of the molecules if AstraZeneca declines to exercise its option.
AstraZeneca Oncology Innovative Medicines Unit head Susan Galbraith said the partnerships with academic and medical institutions is part of the company's strategy in the fight against cancer.
"Cancer Research UK and AstraZeneca have an ongoing collaboration to tap into the cancer research expertise in the UK to deliver investigator-led studies of combinations of novel agents," Galbraith said.
The second agreement involves testing of a potential drug target against AstraZeneca's compound collection at its screening facility in Alderley Park to evaluate any promising molecule's potential to work as a new cancer drug.
Testing will be carried out by Paterson Institute scientists on invitation from AstraZeneca, which will provide crucial clinical and molecular information on any potential drug targets.
University of Manchester Paterson Institute for Cancer Research Dr Donald Ogilvie said; "By directly targeting this pathway for drug discovery we are getting to the heart of the disease and working to translate Cancer Research UK's world-class research into cancer treatments."