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Teva and CRT embark on cancer alliance

By Mia Burns

Cancer Research Technology Ltd., Cancer Research UK’s technology development arm, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries have signed a multi-project alliance agreement to research and develop first-in-class cancer drugs that modulate DNA damage and repair response processes in cancer cells. Also known as DDR, DNA damage and repair response plays a key role in protecting cancer cells from the damaging effect of chemotherapy - creating an in-built antidote to the toxic effects of the anti-tumor drug. Associate Web Editor Mia Burns interviewed John Mallamo, Ph.D. and VP, discovery research at Teva about the collaboration and research.

Q: Why is this collaboration unexpected for Teva?

A: Historically, Teva has been known as the world’s largest generics maker. What people don’t realize is that Teva has a large and growing specialty pharma business with an extensive pipeline of innovative therapeutic approaches and an active program of discovery work and academic collaboration. This type of collaboration focused on drug discovery is, and continues to be, an important part of Teva’s approach to the development of innovative medicines to meet patient needs.

Q: Regarding the DNA damage and repair response process of creating an in-built antidote to the toxic effects of the anti-tumor drug, would this be considered unchartered territory in cancer research?

A: This collaboration is an exciting opportunity to develop new, first-in-class, approaches to improving the treatment of cancer. The impact of DNA damage repair response on disease and therapeutic efficacy is recognized as a central mechanism for understanding cancer and drug development, so understanding this process provides the potential to find targets that will interrupt the ability of cancer cells to protect themselves through DNA damage and repair response.

Q: How did you go about orchestrating this alliance?

A: This partnership builds on the well-established existing relationship between Teva and CRT/Cancer Research UK, a world-class research organization. We’re delighted that this new alliance will provide us with access to Cancer Research UK’s network of leading United Kingdom universities and cancer research institutes, one of the world’s leading hubs of oncology research.

Q: What more can you share about Teva's approach toward R&D?

Q: Will this research take place mostly in the United Kingdom?

A: The world-leading CRT hub of expertise in this field is formed around leading United Kingdom academic institutions and the five Cancer Research institutes (Oxford, Cambridge, London, Manchester, and Glasgow). Teva has R&D expertise in a number of countries that will be drawn upon as the alliance moves forward, and the joint collaboration will involve scientists in both organizations working as teams to bring new molecules and specific mechanisms forward to the clinic and new products.

Q: Could you elaborate on the joint chemical lead generation activities?

A: While these details remain confidential at this time, we expect the alliance to enable us to accelerate our lead generation activities and develop more viable compounds.

Q: Are you going to release additional details regarding the funding, milestone, and royalty payments?

A: We have not disclosed this information at this time.

Posted: September 2013