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£1.2m grant to develop ICR-discovered drug

Professor Paul Workman, deputy chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, has welcomed the news that a drug designed and synthesised in his unit will benefit from a £1.2m grant from the UK government’s Biomedical Catalyst programme that should help speed its progress towards clinical trials.

CYC065 – one of a stream of new therapies targeted to cancers with a particular genetic profile – was discovered at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in a collaboration between the biopharmaceutical company Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals and Professor Workman’s Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit.

Professor Workman, director of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the ICR, said:  “CYC065 is the latest example of the ICR’s ability to discover precisely targeted cancer therapies, which are now beginning to deliver major benefits for the lives of cancer patients.

“The Biomedical Catalyst is a competitive programme of public funding designed to give a much-needed boost to the UK life sciences sector by supporting projects judged by peer review as offering the most innovative solutions to healthcare challenges. So I’m pleased that this award for the development of CYC065 not only recognises the scientific quality of the work we have done with our Cyclacel partners but is also a sign that the fund sees real prospects for this experimental drug candidate that we have discovered. I’m very optimistic that it can now successfully move through translational development and into clinical trials.

CYC065 is a very potent and specific inhibitor of enzyme proteins in the cell called cyclin-dependent kinases which certain cancers, including some leukeamias, are very dependent upon.

Professor Workman said: “This new funding will help us to move towards treating patients whose cancers are reliant on the precise genetic mechanism targeted by the drug. It is part of our overall approach at The Institute of Cancer Research to work in creative partnerships to discover a whole range of drugs for the personalized treatment of cancer.”

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