Cancer Research UK signs multi-project collaboration with UCB to develop antibody drugs

Cancer Research UK and UCB, a global biopharmaceutical company, have formed a clinical development collaboration to advance two of UCB’s investigational oncology antibody candidates through clinical trials.

The collaboration focuses on the development of two investigational antibody candidates, UCB6114 and UCB4594, by bringing together the oncology-focused translational research and clinical development capabilities of Cancer Research UK, and UCB’s renowned antibody discovery expertise.

If successful in clinical trials the investigational candidates may have the potential to offer cancer patients access to new targeted treatment options. UCB6114 is a potential first-in-class antibody targeting gremlin-1, a glycoprotein secreted by the tumour stroma. UCB4594 is an antibody targeting the immune checkpoint, human leukocyte antigen G, also known as HLA-G.

Under the terms of the collaboration, Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development will appoint the chief clinical and scientific investigators, and will lead the design, preparation, sponsorship and delivery of Phase 1/2 clinical trials for both UCB antibody candidates.

UCB will continue to manufacture both investigational antibody candidates, complete the ongoing UCB6114 clinical study (ONC001) and perform other supporting activities. UCB will retain exclusive rights to further develop and commercialise both assets and will receive a licence to the results of the clinical trials from Cancer Research UK in return for undisclosed success-based milestone and royalty payments.

Dr Nigel Blackburn, director, Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development, said: “As funders of much of the world-class cancer research and innovation happening in the UK, we are able to offer our unparalleled access to some of the best oncology expertise and clinical development capabilities to our commercial partners.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with UCB to progress not one, but two novel oncology antibodies and here at the Centre for Drug Development we are looking forward to progressing these programmes through early clinical development.”

Dhaval Patel, chief scientific officer of UCB, said: “UCB’s strong research productivity together with our antibody expertise and desire to better understand and target the drivers of disease, has resulted in two novel and potentially disruptive candidates in oncology.

“As these candidates move forward, we are happy to enter this collaboration with Cancer Research UK where they will bring world leading oncology expertise and access to a large network of clinical oncologists who can enable the clinical trials.”

Financial details of the partnership were not disclosed.

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