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Cancer Research UK teams up with Sosei Heptares for clinical trial of cancer immunotherapy drug candidate for under-served groups

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Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and Sosei Heptares have signed an agreement to bring a cancer immunotherapy drug candidate into clinical trials.

CRUK’s Centre for Drug Development will sponsor, design and execute the Phase I/IIa clinical trial of HTL00397322 - a novel selective EP4 antagonist - which is designed to tackle a range of cancers, including microsatellite stable colorectal, gastroesophageal, head and neck and castrate resistant prostate cancer.

Sosei Heptares has expanded its space at Granta Park. Picture: Keith Heppell
Sosei Heptares has expanded its space at Granta Park. Picture: Keith Heppell

Many patients with these types of cancer have missed out on the benefits that immunotherapies such as PD1/L1 checkpoint inhibitors have brought to other cancer types. Granta Park-based Sosei Heptares, which holds the licence to the trial results to enable further clinical development, will be responsible for CTA-enabling activities, including GLP toxicology, IMP manufacture and other required pre-clinical studies.

Dr Nigel Blackburn, director of CRUK’s Centre for Drug Development, said: “People with these cancer types have, to date, largely missed out on some of the remarkable advances in the field of immunotherapy.

“We are therefore thrilled to be partnering with Sosei Heptares to bring their novel immunotherapy candidate into human trials. The hope is that with more trials like this, all cancer patients will eventually be able to benefit from this potentially life-saving form of cancer treatment.”

Dr Matt Barnes, of Sosei Heptares
Dr Matt Barnes, of Sosei Heptares

Dr Matt Barnes, president of Heptares Therapeutics and head of UK R&D, added: “HTL0039732 was rationally designed using our highly productive SBDD platform specifically for this type of immunotherapy approach and as such we believe it offers the potential to be a best-in-class EP4 antagonist agent.”

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