CRT and Merck extend partnership to discover new cancer drugs


UK-based Cancer Research Technology (CRT) has extended its collaboration with US pharmaceutical company Merck to discover new cancer drugs targeting the Hippo pathway.

The completion of the deal between the two parties follows a successful one-year target validation and drug discovery feasibility collaboration between CRT’s Discovery Laboratories (CRT-DL) in London, UK, and Cambridge and Merck at Darmstadt, Germany.

The alliance has helped develop an enhanced understanding of the role of the Hippo pathway in cancer and the best drug for the key targets.

CRT chief executive Dr Iain Foulkes said: “The extension and expansion of this alliance showcases the success of CRT’s Discovery Laboratories drug discovery approach in moving forward exciting new approaches to cancer therapy.

"We’re now focused on developing these early projects for the benefit of cancer patients.”

“We’ve brought together leading academics in the field and industry to build on world-class research, and we’re now focused on developing these early projects for the benefit of cancer patients.”

The Hippo pathway in healthy cells regulates cell size, thereby controlling the growth of tissues during development and regeneration.

However, abnormal activation of proteins controlled by the Hippo pathway can result in the development of a wide range of cancers.

The current partnership between Merck and CRT entirely focuses on the discovery of cancer drugs to identify molecules that would be taken into preclinical studies and clinical trials.

From the deal, CRT will receive royalties and milestone payments to be invested into the research conducted by Cancer Research UK.


Image: CRT and Merck collaborate to discover new cancer drugs targeting Hippo pathway. Photo: courtesy of Cancer Research UK.