Almac Discovery and Queen’s University Belfast’s Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) have launched a $20 million cancer drug discovery partnership to accelerate cancer-focused drug discovery in Northern Ireland. As part of the project, Queen’s and Almac have scheduled a Phase I clinical trial for ovarian cancer involving the first novel cancer drug fully developed in Northern Ireland. The drug was created as a result of an earlier collaboration between Almac Discovery and Professor Tracy Robson from the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s.
Additionally, the Queen’s CCRCB and Almac entered a joint cancer drug discovery program that will work to identify parts of tumors that are susceptible to treatment by cancer drugs and to then develop the new drugs to target them. The partnership aims to enable new approaches to selecting patients that will be most likely to respond to the new drugs, and to create the technologies needed to deliver the drugs directly to the tumor site.
Professor Robson said, “This latest trial involves a new treatment for cancer known as ALM201, which rather than attacking tumours directly, prevents the growth of new blood vessels in tumors, starving them of oxygen and nutrients and thereby preventing their growth. It targets tumours by an entirely different pathway to those treatments currently approved.”
Alan Armstrong, chief executive officer of Almac said, “Bringing new treatments to patients is a complex process. The announcement today of a new clinical trial, which is the result of a previous partnership between Almac and Queen’s School of Pharmacy, is a timely illustration of how collaboration between the University and industry is already creating novel approaches to cancer therapy which have a very real chance of helping patients.”