Animal research

Drug firm licenses cancer discovery

A new drug compound, discovered using studies with mice, is set to be transformed into medicines for hard-to-treat cancers.

The University has signed a licensing deal with US biopharmaceutical company Nuvectis Pharma, which will grant them exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialise treatments based on the compound, known as NXP900.

NXP900 works by blocking proteins called SRC and YES1, which have been linked to several types of cancer. In cell and animal studies, NXP900 has shown the potential to reduce the growth of certain types of breast, colon, prostate, pancreatic and ovarian cancer, as well as tumours affecting the lungs, head and neck and oesophagus.

Its discovery follows 10 years of research led by 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. 

NXP900 is a “first-in-class” candidate drug which employs a newly discovered mechanism to safely inhibit the activity of SRC/YES1, a protein family that has been associated with cancer growth for several decades but has resisted previous attempts at attack in solid tumours. 

Professor Margaret Frame, Director of the Institute of Genetics and Cancer and world expert on SRC, said: “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. 

“This unique drug is the result of combining advanced cell-based screening with innovative medicinal chemistry to select compounds with exciting biological activities, testament to the power of innovating academic cancer drug discovery pioneered in the Institute over many years.   

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Read more on the Institute of Genetics and Cancer website

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