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GEN News Highlights : May 25, 2011

Centella Partners with Cancer Research UK for Early Development of Newly Licensed Drug

Rights to candidate for hypoxic tumors were obtained from Auckland University yesterday.

A day after licensing an anticancer agent CEN-209, Centella Therapeutics has also found a collaborator for initial testing. Cancer Research UK and its commercialization arm, Cancer Research Technology, signed on to help develop CEN-209. 

Centella obtained rights to the drug yesterday through a license arrangement with Auckland UniServices, the commercial arm of the University of Auckland. CEN-209 is designed to be used together with radiotherapy and chemotherapy and targets hypoxic tumors. It is an improved analogue of tirapazamine and is currently in preclinical testing.

Under terms of the partnership, Cancer Research UK's drug development office will complete preclinical development and Phase I trials, which will be conducted through the charity's Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres.

After the Phase I trial, Centella will have the exclusive option to buy back the clinical trial data and conduct further clinical studies. If Centella doesn't exercise its option, the rights to the program will be transferred to Cancer Research Technology, which will then work to secure an alternative partner. 

CEN-209 is reportedly the seventh drug candidate to enter Cancer Research UK's Clinical Development Partnerships (CDP) scheme. CDP is an initiative to develop promising anticancer agents from companies that are not able to take them through early-phase clinical trials themselves.