Pioneering fundamental biological research through to a first-in-class cancer drug

CCS1477 is the product of exploring multiple epigenetic-related pathways and targets with many different research world leaders, and then prioritising the best opportunity with the strongest balance of biology, medicinal chemistry and clinical application and impact.

CellCentric was co-founded with one of the pioneers of epigenetic research, Prof Azim Surani FRS CBE of the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge.

Prof Surani discovered and described an epigenetic code, beyond DNA, that could be inherited and instruct cell fate.

When epigenetic-related regulation goes awry, disease can result.

It quickly became clear that studying epigenetics could yield many unexplored targets for new drug discovery; histone deacetylases (HDACs), histone methyltransferases (HMTs) and beyond.

Best knowledge drives the identification of the best opportunities.

CellCentric built a network of research and evaluation relationships with over 25 leading academic research groups worldwide, to identify new opportunities for developing breakthrough treatments.

Through collaboration, over 50 epigenetic-related targets explored; multiple selected for early drug discovery.

CellCentric activity worked on multiple target validation and early medicinal chemistry programmes, including methyltransferases and deubiquitnases.

An argenine methyltransferase programme was licensed to Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Epigenetic-related proteins are key in regulating gene expression

CellCentric’s research evolved to concentrate on twin acetyl transferase proteins p300 and CBP that act as transcription co-activation factors, which drive the expression of genes important in cancer progression.

First of its kind; novel small molecule inhibitor of p300/CBP

The company went on to develop a potent and specific small molecule p300/CBP inhibitor, CCS1477. It targets the conserved bromodomain of p300/CBP.

The drug product itself is formulated as a capsule taken orally.

CCS1477 is now in Phase I/II clinical trials for multiple but specific applications.

CellCentric has three parallel strands of clinical evaluation; prostate cancer, haematological malignancies and tumours with specific molecular drivers. Trials are currently active across the UK, with expansion to follow in the US and Europe.