Array BioPharma and AstraZeneca have selected a third compound for their small molecule MEK anti-cancer program, triggering a $1 million milestone payment by AstraZeneca. The second compound was selected in January 2006, also triggering a $1 million milestone to Array. In December 2003, Array partnered the oncology portion of its MEK program, including its lead compound, ARRY-142886 (AZD6244), for co-development and commercialization with AZ. At that time, the companies established a collaboration for R&D of additional clinical candidates.
According to Array, MEK is a critical enzyme at the intersection of several biological pathways, which regulates cell proliferation and survival as part of the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK pathway. Constitutive activation of the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK pathway has been implicated in many cancers, including lung, pancreatic, colon, melanoma and thyroid caused by cancer-associated, mutational activation of bRAF and Ras proteins. MEK inhibition is seen as an attractive anti-cancer strategy as it has the potential to block inappropriate signal transduction regardless of the upstream position of the oncogenic aberration.
AZ, Array Biopharma Cancer Program Advances
Published April 11, 2006
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