Astex Pharmaceuticals is teaming up with the U.K.’s Cancer Research Technology (CRT), and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) for a collaboration focused on the discovery and development of drug candidates against a specified epigenetic target for blood cancer. The partnership will marry Astex’s fragment-based drug discovery platform and epigenetic drug development capabilities with ICR’s expertise in blood cancer biology, and the drug discovery capabilities of the Cancer Research U.K. Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the ICR.

“We are delighted to be entering into this new collaboration with the ICR and CRT on a key epigenetics target,” comments Harren Jhoti, Ph.D., Astex president. “This new partnership builds on the highly successful collaboration which Astex entered into with the ICR and CRT in 2003 on another cancer target, PKB/Akt. That collaboration led to the discovery of two clinical candidates, the first of which, AZD5363, was taken into Phase I by our partner AstraZeneca in early 2011, and the second of which, AT13148, is being prepared to be taken into Phase I under our development partnership with Cancer Research U.K.”

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