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Turning research breakthrough into new potential medicines

Nuvectis Pharma has an exclusive license to develop new cancer treatments based on protected University research.

3D tumour spheroid
3D tumour spheroid

Professors Neil Carragher and Asier Unciti-Broceta, at the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre within the University of Edinburgh’s Institute of Genetics and Cancer, spent ten years developing a highly potent and selective compound known as NXP900, a potential new treatment for several highly prevalent cancers.

In August 2021, thanks to the successful research and development, intellectual property strategy, and commercialisation efforts spanning a number of years, the University of Edinburgh entered into one of the most significant commercial partnerships it has ever secured.


Promising results leading to patent application

Research conducted by the University identified NXP900, a novel inhibitor of the SRC kinase family of proteins (including SRC and YES1).  SRC is aberrantly activated in many cancer types, including solid tumours such as breast, colon, prostate, pancreatic and ovarian cancer.  Amplification of YES1 has been reported in various solid tumours affecting the lungs, head and neck and oesophagus.  Treatment with NXP900 inhibited primary and metastatic tumour growth in models of breast cancer, demonstrating its potential therapeutic advantages over existing SRC family kinase inhibitors.

Based on encouraging research findings, Edinburgh Innovations (EI), the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service, recognised the potential of the technology and supported a patent strategy to protect the potential cancer drug candidate.   


Proactive engagement secures license and research collaboration

Dr Maria Lopalco, EI Technology Transfer Manager, understood that to realise the fullest impact from this technological breakthrough the technology transfer team had to secure a licencing deal with a pharmaceutical company that had a clear development plan and resources to invest in, what would be potentially life-saving treatments.  From an early stage, Maria worked with the research team to develop the commercial proposition, and to progress the opportunity through to that ultimate goal.  Having proactively identified and engaged with several potential industry partners, Maria then brokered and led the completion of a complex and high-value licence deal on behalf of the University.

As a result of this concerted research and commercialisation effort, US biopharmaceutical company Nuvectis Pharma, Inc., has now licensed exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialise oncology treatments based on the University's technology.  In addition, Maria and the EI team have secured a significant research collaboration project with Nuvectis that will further progress the science and create jobs in Edinburgh, as well as secure income for the University.

It is noteworthy that Maria’s input was recognised as so pivotal in terms of the progression of the technology and securing the positive outcome achieved that she was credited as co-author on the accompanying academic paper in the journal “Cancer Research”, the first Edinburgh Innovations employee to be credited in this way.


Turning academic research into impact

Every researcher working in this field hopes their discoveries can reach patients and save lives, and this agreement with Nuvectis promises just that, using a new way to attack cancer that has long evaded science.

Professor Margaret FrameDirector of the Institute of Genetics and Cancer and world expert on SRC


As far as turning academic research into impact goes, you don’t get much more rewarding than finding new treatments for cancer. This partnership is very significant, and we’re very proud to have helped it reach this point.

Dr George BaxterCEO of Edinburgh Innovations


We are thrilled to partner with the University of Edinburgh to advance the development of NXP900, which has demonstrated outstanding preclinical activity to date

Ron BentsurCo-Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nuvectis


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