Global pharma company strikes deal with Melbourne research centre to develop new cancer drugs
16 Nov 2018
US-based pharmaceutical Pfizer Inc.
has signed a two-year research partnership with
Cancer Therapeutics Co-operative Research Centre
(CTx) to develop two programs focusing on drug discovery.
Under the agreement, Pfizer will gain the rights to two novel pre-clinical
cancer programs and CTx will receive a A$20 million upfront payment, up to
a potential A$648 million in development and sales milestones, as well as
royalties on product sales if the program reaches commercialisation.
The two pre-clinical programs target proteins known to play an important
role in driving the growth of both solid and blood cancers.
‘We are constantly searching the globe for the best science that has the
potential to change the way we can treat people with cancer in the future,’
says Dr. Robert Abraham, Senior Vice President and Group Head of Pfizer’s
Oncology Research & Development Group, in a media release.
‘What we have found at CTx with these two chromatin modifying enzyme
targets are very promising, differentiated programs that have the potential
to provide new treatment options for patients.’
‘Funds that will help support the biomedical sector and that can be
ploughed into new drug discovery programs; providing opportunities for the
world-class team we have developed, and potentially leading to the delivery
of new treatments for patients and economic benefits for the nation’, says
Brett Carter, CEO of CTx.
According to the
Australian Financial Review, it is one of the largest pre-clinical deals and lifts to more than US$1
billion the licensing deals struck by CTx over the past several years –
including a major deal with MSD in 2016. It adds to a growing list of
commercialisation successes for Australian pharmaceuticals and biotech
Asked why CTX had achieved such great success, Dr Ian Street, Chief
Scientific Officer at CTx, says that ‘Every new cancer drug starts with a
great idea, however what Australia lacked was a good mechanism to convert
these ideas into potential new medicines, and this is the niche that CTx
Pfizer is a global biopharmaceutical company involved in the manufacture of
vaccines and injectable biologic medicines. It employs more than 90,000
CTx is an oncology focused small molecule drug discovery and early
development biotechnology group, established in 2007 under the Australian
government’s Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) initiative and awarded a
further six years funding in July 2014. It is a collaborative partnership
of leading research institutes, universities and commercial enterprises
that translates Australia’s innovative research discoveries into new cancer
drugs ready for clinical development. The CRC Programme supports
industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community
across all sectors.