The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and Cancer Research Technology (CRT), both based in London, entered into a drug discovery collaboration with Nuevolution in Copenhagen to identify candidates for cancer treatment.

Researchers at both organizations will use Nuevolution’s screening technology (Chemetics®) to screen libraries of millions of DNA-tagged compounds to identify those that act on a key protein in the stress response pathway. The three-way deal builds on an existing collaboration between CRT and Nuevolution, which aims to identify drug leads that block the activity of several cancer targets of therapeutic interest.

As part the new deal, researchers from the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at ICR will provide scientific input on the specific stress pathway target as well as their experience in cancer drug discovery and development. Nuevolution also lend its expertise in screening and medicinal chemistry to optimize drug candidates. The parties have an option to co-develop promising compounds arising from this collaboration. The agreement is open-ended and allows for the screening of additional targets.

“The stress response pathway plays a key role in allowing cancer cells to survive and to develop drug resistance so it is increasingly being seen as an exciting source of future drug targets,” said Prof. Paul Workman, deputy chief executive of ICR and director of the Cancer Research U.K. Cancer Therapeutics Unit. “But for some of these targets it is technically very challenging to identify prototype small molecule drugs. The new collaboration between the ICR, CRT, and Nuevolution will allow us to screen very rapidly and efficiently for compounds that are able to bind to a key component of the stress response pathway that we have identified as especially important, and could help us to identify new drug candidates far more quickly than would otherwise be the case.”

This is the second Chemtics deal from Nuevolution this month. Two weeks ago, Novartis licensed the technology to produce screening libraries.

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