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F-star and AstraZeneca celebrate wins at the Scrip Awards 2018

Eliot Forster, CEO of F-star (5725136)
Eliot Forster, CEO of F-star (5725136)

F-star and AstraZeneca were among the winners of the Scrip Awards 2018.

Babraham-based biopharmaceutical company F-star secured Best Partnership Alliance for its collaboration with Denali Therapeutics, announced in August 2016.

The partnership was been worth $24million, with further payments of up to $447million contingent on F-star achieving future milestones.

F-star, which was joint winner of Biotech Company of the Year at the Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards last month, is pioneering the development of bispecific antibodies that target the immune system to fight cancer.

Its partnership with Denali involves discovering and developing Fcabs - Fc-domains of antibodies that bind to antigens - to deliver medicines into the central nervous system.

Denali exercised an early option in May 2018 to acquire the exclusive rights to the programmes and expand the collaboration.

Eliot Forster, who recently became CEO of F-star, said: “We are delighted to be recognised amongst many world-class biotech companies at the Scrip Awards.

“This trophy reflects the hard work of everyone at F-star and the success of our collaborations over the last year.

“Every day we strive to develop life-changing treatments for cancer patients with our first-in-class biologics and it is gratifying to be recognised amongst peers for the progress we have made.”

F-star is rapidly progressing the next wave of its proprietary drugs towards the clinic. Last month, it revealed preclinical data on two new bispecific programmes with the potential to deliver a more targeted, potent and safer anti-cancer response than current monospecific approaches.

Meanwhile Cambridge-based AstraZeneca and MSD won licensing deal of the year, sponsored by Worldwide Clinical Trials, for cancer drugs Lynparza and selumetinib. Under the terms of the deal, announced in 2017, MSD - known as Merck in the US, will pay AstraZeneca up to $8.5billion in total, comprising $1.6billion upfront, $750 million for licence options and up to $6.15billion contingent upon future regulatory and sales milestones. Profits from the drugs are shared equally, with AstraZeneca manufacturing both.

Lynparza is approved for BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer in multiple lines of treatment and is being investigated for others.

Selumetinib is being investigated as a potential treatment for multiple cancers including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and thyroid cancer.

The Scrip Awards, run by Scrip Intelligence and held last Wednesday at the Hilton on Park Lane, London, recognise the role of biotech, pharmaceutical and other companies have played in improving healthcare. William Hague MP presented the awards.

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