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Anti-Cancer Drug Discovery Alliance Announced


New Alliance to Discover, Develop, and Commercialise Novel Small Molecule Inhibitors of the Anti-Cancer Target B-RAF


Thursday 27 July 2006


The Wellcome Trust Limited and The Institute of Cancer Research today announced a new alliance with GlaxoSmithKline to discover, develop and commercialize novel small molecule inhibitors of B-RAF, a key signal transduction enzyme, for use as anti-cancer agents. The new alliance builds on the partnership between the Wellcome Trust, The Institute of Cancer Research, Cancer Research Technology Limited and Astex Therapeutics Limited entered into in February 2004.


The new Research, Development and Collaboration Agreement grants The Wellcome Trust Limited and the Institute of Cancer Research a licence to three of GlaxoSmithKline’s lead series of relevant compounds. The Wellcome Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research will be responsible for providing GlaxoSmithKline with drug candidates from these lead series or from leads generated during the new collaboration, which meet pre-defined criteria. GlaxoSmithKline, in turn, will have the option of progressing these candidates through development and into the market.


Dr. Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust said: "These creative approaches to the discovery of new medicines are vital to help society address the growing burden of disease. This alliance represents an alternative model to drug discovery R+D, where the transition from biology into compound optimisation is being led by the non-industry partners but with access to B-RAF compounds and the vast experience of GSK."


Professor Peter Rigby, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research said: “These are really exciting times in cancer drug development. We are now in an era when we can develop and modify drugs to target specific elements of the cancer cells. This alliance gives The Institute the opportunity to work on an exciting range of molecules and allows us to speed up the development of anti-cancer drugs and get treatments into clinical trial as soon as possible.”


Under the Agreement, The Wellcome Trust will be eligible for option exercise payments, and clinical development and regulatory milestone payments. In addition, The Wellcome Trust is eligible to receive royalties on commercial sales of approved products. The milestone and royalty revenues will be shared with The Institute, Cancer Research Technology Ltd and Astex Therapeutics Limited.


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For further information please contact:

Katrina Nevin-Ridley

Media Relations, The Wellcome Trust

+44 20 7611 8540 (direct)

+44 7973 481 485 (mobile)

[email protected]


Nadia Ramsey

Press Officer, The Institute of Cancer Research

+44 20 7153 5359

[email protected]


Dr. Nick Wells

Head of Marketing, Cancer Research Technology

+44 (0)20 7269 3640

[email protected]


Jon Coles / Wendel Verbeek / Justine McIlroy / Alex Tweed

Astex Therapeutics Limited

Brunswick Group LLP

+44 (0) 207 404 5959

[email protected]


Notes to editors:

  • The Wellcome Trust. The Wellcome Trust is the most diverse biomedical research charity in the world, spending about £450 million every year both in the UK and internationally to support and promote research that will improve the health of humans and animals. The Trust was established under the will of Sir Henry Wellcome, and is funded from a private endowment, which is managed with long-term stability and growth in mind.
  • GlaxoSmithKline. GlaxoSmithKline - one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.
  • The Institute of Cancer Research. The Institute of Cancer Research is Europe’s leading cancer research centre with expert scientists working on cutting edge research. It was founded in 1909 to carry out research into the causes of cancer and to develop new strategies for its prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Website at:
  • The Institute works in a unique partnership with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, forming the largest Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Europe. This relationship enables close daily contact with those on the frontline in the fight against cancer - the clinicians, the carers and most importantly, the patients.
  • Cancer Research Technology Limited. Cancer Research Technology Limited (“CRT”) is an oncology-focused development and commercialisation company that realises cancer patient benefit from publicly-funded research worldwide. CRT works closely with leading international cancer scientists, their institutes and funding bodies to protect, develop and commercialise oncology-related discoveries. CRT is wholly owned by Cancer Research UK, the largest independent funder of cancer research in the world. Further information about CRT can be found at
  • Astex Therapeutics Ltd. Astex Therapeutics is a UK-based biotechnology company producing novel small molecule therapeutics. Using its pioneering fragment-based drug discovery approach, PyramidTM, Astex has rapidly established a broad pipeline of next-generation, molecularly-targeted oncology drugs the first of which, AT7519, is currently in Phase I clinical trials in the US and in the UK. Astex has two further product candidates including AT9283, an aurora kinase inhibitor which received IND approval in April 2006 to commence clinical studies, and AT9311, an oral cell cycle inhibitor which is in formal pre-clinical development.
  • For further information on Astex Therapeutics please visit the Company’s website at


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