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Cancer Research Technology and Pangaea Biotech sign license agreement to develop new cancer drugs


Barcelona, Spain / Cambridge UK, May 26 2016- Cancer Research Technology (CRT) – the development and commercialisation arm of Cancer Research UK – has entered into a license agreement with Pangaea Biotech, the Molecular Oncology Laboratory of the Dr. Rosell Oncology Institute, to develop p21-activated kinase (PAK) inhibitor drugs for cancer.

These promising new drugs have been developed by scientists at CRT’s Discovery Laboratories with support from Cancer Research UK-funded scientists at King’s College London.

PAK is involved in cell growth and survival and is overexpressed in many cancers including ovarian, breast, pancreatic, melanoma and lung. Scientists hope that the PAK inhibitors will block the activity of overexpressed PAK protein – killing cancer cells. Although researchers have linked PAK with tumour development, there are no approved compounds available on the market.

Under the terms of the agreement, Pangaea Biotech will be responsible for research and development of the PAK inhibitors, taking CRT’s compounds through clinical development. CRT will receive undisclosed upfront and downstream payments.

CRT and Pangea Biotech will work collaboratively to complete lead optimisation, then Pangaea will assume responsibility for pre-clinical and clinical development. 

Javier Rivela, CEO of Pangaea Biotech, said: “This strategic agreement maximises the capabilities of both parties, with CRT focusing on the earlier stages of development involving specialised medicinal chemistry work, and Pangaea on regulatory preclinical development, early stage clinical trials and development of biomarkers, where our main abilities and experience lie.

“We are excited about this partnership as it marks the beginning of what we expect to be a fruitful long-term collaboration with one of the most important global players in cancer drug development.” 

Dr Phil L’Huillier, CRT’s director of business management, said: “It’s fantastic to see this new investment in Cancer Research UK-funded science that has progressed through our Discovery Laboratories. We look forward to working with Pangaea to develop the PAK inhibitor for clinical trials.”

CRT’s Discovery Laboratories build on Cancer Research UK’s investment in world-class research and focus on forming drug discovery alliances with industry, to develop potential novel therapies based on the cancer targets identified in academic research.

Cancer Research UK is the world’s largest foundation dedicated to investigating the causes and treatment of cancer, with an annual budget of several million pounds. Its researchers have contributed to over 20.000 high-impact scientific publications that have advanced understanding of this deadly disease. CRT serves as the necessary link between academia and industry, with exclusive rights to £350 million of cancer research funding per year; in 2015 alone, it leveraged £16 million in industry funding to progress promising cancer research. CRT currently has 30 drugs in pre-clinical and clinical development in collaboration with some of the largest international pharmaceutical companies, over 200 projects available for licensing or co-development, and has taken four approved drugs to market. 

About Pangaea Biotech

Pangaea Biotech S.L is a biotechnology company led by world-renowned oncologist Dr. Rafael Rosell and the Molecular Oncology Laboratory serving the Dr. Rosell Oncology Institute. Founded in 2007, Pangaea has grown rapidly to become a reference laboratory in its field and has established client relationships with some of the largest global pharmaceutical, diagnostics and biotech companies. Pangaea has three main areas of activity: development of diagnostic tools and services - with a special focus on Liquid Biopsy - development of new anti-cancer drugs, and patient diagnostic services for the Dr Rosell Oncology Institute (IOR) located in Quirón Dexeus University Hospital, Barcelona, Sagrat Cor University Hospital, Barcelona, and University Hospital General de Cataluyna, Sant Cugat dels Valles. Both Pangaea and IOR are highly experienced in the field of clinical trials and offer a dedicated Clinical Trials Unit and comprehensive molecular diagnostics and pathology testing services. 

About Cancer Research Technology

Cancer Research Technology (CRT) is a specialist commercialisation and development company, which aims to develop new discoveries in cancer research for the benefit of cancer patients. CRT works closely with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. CRT facilitates the discovery, development and marketing of new cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling technologies. CRT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK, the world's leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. For further information: CRTCancer Research UKCRT Discovery Laboratories.