Cancer Research UK (CRUK): target validation/high throughput screening

Dr Ian Waddell, Head of Biology, Drug Discovery Unit, Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute

AstraZeneca and CRUK discussed a molecular target that CRUK staff were working on, which was of interest to both parties. During 2013, AstraZeneca hosted members of the CRUK Manchester Institute’s Drug Discovery group at our Alderley Park site. They were provided with open access to AstraZeneca’s High Throughput Screening (HTS) facilities, supported by in-house screening expertise, and screened the full corporate compound screening collection. The opportunity enabled CRUK researchers to prosecute a hit identification program at a scale not previously available to them against this internal target.

The partnership was structured such that AstraZeneca would provide clinical and molecular information on any promising molecules identified from the HTS campaign. CRUK scientists have the opportunity to develop molecules into lead series, with AstraZeneca retaining first rights of negotiation on any series which might be developable into drugs. This arrangement is a powerful example of how industry and academia can collaborate for mutual benefit and facilitate research into emerging areas of disease biology that may not otherwise have happened.

“We are very excited by this collaboration; the technology provided by AstraZeneca’s Discovery Science group offers us a novel way of prosecuting cancer targets derived from Cancer Research UK funded research” said Dr Ian Waddell, Head of Biology at the Drug Discovery Unit at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute. “This collaborative way of working between academia and industry points the way to the future and we look forward to progressing the next target with AstraZeneca’s Discovery Sciences group. In the longer term we hope that this collaboration will allow us to deliver real patient benefit to the global cancer community.”