CellCentric and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, have signed a research agreement to further explore the effects of CellCentric’s drug candidate CCS1477 on prostate cancer. In addition, Karen Knudsen, Johann de Bono and Myles Brown have been granted a Prostate Cancer Foundation challenge award of $1m to investigate the molecular and biological effects of CCS1477 in the context of clinical impact.
CellCentric has developed a novel drug for the treatment of prostate (CRPC) and other cancers. CCS1477 inhibits the twin histone acetyl transferase targets p300 and CBP, leading to the down regulation of the androgen receptor (AR), AR-splice variants and c-Myc. These are key drivers of late stage hormone-sensitive prostate cancer. CCS1477 is set to start clinical trials Q2 2018, being used either after or in combination with enzalutamide and abiraterone.
CellCentric today announces that it has signed a collaborative research agreement with The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), with Prof Johann de Bono and his team. CCS1477 will be assessed in a number of translational research models to further investigate the impact of inhibiting p300/CBP on AR and its splice variants as well as other downstream, transcriptional targets. Prof de Bono is a leading pioneer in the treatment and development of new therapies for prostate cancer, including being instrumental in the development of abiraterone.
The ICR, with its hospital partner The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, is one of the world’s most influential cancer research institutes, with an outstanding record of achievement dating back more than 100 years. Since 2005 the ICR has discovered 20 cancer drug candidates, and progressed nine drugs into clinical trials.
Commenting, Johann de Bono, Regius Professor of Cancer Research at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said ‘There is a real need for new prostate cancer treatments to overcome drug resistance in late stage prostate cancer. Targeting the androgen receptor and its splice variants with a novel drug such as CCS1477 offers a new and exciting clinical opportunity.’
CellCentric has also had a longstanding relationship with Prof Karen Knudsen, Director of the NCI-Designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University, USA. Prof Knudsen, in conjunction with Prof de Bono (ICR, UK) and Prof Myles Brown (Dana Faber/Harvard Cancer Center, USA) have been awarded $1m by the Prostate Cancer Foundation to further investigate the molecular clinical features associated with p300/CBP deregulation caused by CCS1477. This will help refine patient selection for those likely to be most responsive to the novel drug, as well as help guide future drug combination strategies.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation is the world’s leading philanthropic organization funding and accelerating prostate cancer research. Founded in 1993, PCF has raised more than $745 million. The PCF’s Challenge Awards are specifically designed to support transformational collaborative research, to accelerate progress towards reducing death and suffering due to recurrent or advanced prostate cancer.
Regarding the PCF award, Karen Knudsen said ‘This is a significant award to further understand the role of p300/CBP in prostate cancer and its potential as a therapeutic target. It aligns well with the PCF’s mission to accelerate the most exciting new opportunities to treat prostate cancer and make a difference to patients’ lives.’
CellCentric is a biotechnology company developing novel cancer therapeutic products, based on its knowledge of epigenetics. The company was co-founded with Prof Azim Surani FRS CBE of University of Cambridge, and one of the earliest pioneers in the space.
CellCentric has identified and investigated multiple potential drug targets associated with epigenetic regulation, and has carried out early drug discovery on six. One of these, an arginine methyltransferase programme was licenced to Takeda Pharmaceuticals. The company’s own lead programme is the development of first-in-class inhibitors of p300/CBP histone acetyltransferases. These have potential for the treatment of the lethal form of prostate cancer (CRPC), as well as other cancers.
CellCentric is a privately held business, its largest shareholder being Morningside Venture Investments.