Tag Archives: deal

CtX forges $730 m deal for new cancer drug

The new cancer drug, which was developed with support from the UK-based Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research Technology (CRT), has potential clinical applications in both cancer and hemoglobinopathies (non-cancer blood disorders).

According to Dr Tom Peat from CSIRO, one of the key research partners in CTx, the new cancer drug is designed to inhibit the protein PRMT5, which is associated with a range of cancers, including mantle cell lymphoma, lung cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer.

“Patients who have these types of cancers often have high levels of this protein, which is unfortunately also linked to poor survival rates,” Peat said.

“Using our recombinant protein production facilities, we were able to produce samples of these proteins, crystallise them for structure based drug design and support the consortium’s pre-commercial investigations and trials.

“Access to high quality protein is absolutely critical in structural biology approaches to drug discovery, and CSIRO is pleased to be able to contribute this key capability.

“The CTx consortium was able to develop a drug that binds to this protein, allowing it to target the cancerous cells.

“We’re thrilled to be part of this development, which has the potential to make a real difference for patients here in Australia and around the globe.”

Under the terms of the license, Merck US will now further develop the new cancer drug, taking it to clinical trials, with a view to worldwide commercialisation.

Science commercialisation success

“This is a great result for Australian science and further demonstrates what can be achieved when science and commercialisation capabilities unite,” CTx chief executive Dr Warwick Tong said.

In addition to applications for cancer, PRMT5 inhibitors switch on important genes in the development of blood.

This could provide disease-modifying treatment options for patients with blood disorders like sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia.

The deal provides potentially significant financial returns, which will be shared between CRT, CTx and the Wellcome Trust, with the majority being returned to CTx and its Australian research partners including CSIRO, Monash University, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.


This article was originally published by CSIRO.

A new climate of collaboration for ANSTO

Australia’s foremost nuclear science and technology organisation, ANSTO, is a key player in establishing safe practice in the field throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Recently, the organisation has set its sights on growing the scope of its collaborations in Asia.

In December 2012, ANSTO formed a joint research centre with the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP). The centre focuses on developing materials for extreme environments – in particular, structural nuclear materials for advanced Thorium Molten Salt Reactors. Unlike existing reactors, these next-generation reactors can run on waste fuels and they’re less likely to meltdown.

“The type of science we’re undertaking is changing from fundamental research to research goals leading to real-world applications,” says ANSTO research fellow Dr Massey de los Reyes. “For example, the ANSTO-SINAP Joint Research Centre aims to understand how materials behave in extreme environments: fusion, aerospace, nuclear reactors.”

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De los Reyes and colleagues aim to use the knowledge gained in the centre to develop new strategic research partnerships with industry and other organisations, looking at improving existing materials used in thorium reactors or developing entirely new materials for use in extreme environments. “This information could benefit a range of processing and manufacturing industries,” she says.

“The type of science we’re undertaking is changing from fundamental research to research goals leading to real-world applications.”

Eight of ANSTO’s 25 international partnerships have been formed with Asian countries, including Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan. These collaborations are opening up exciting new avenues of research. For example, the National Science Council Taiwan funded the SIKA neutron beam instrument currently under construction at the Bragg Institute in Sydney.

In the arena of basic research, ANSTO Principal Research Scientist Dr David Fink is collaborating with Mongolian scientists to study the past behaviour of Mongolia’s extensive glaciated mountains. As glaciers shrink and grow, they leave evidence of their tracks in the form of rock piles known as moraines.

Working in Mongolia, and with partners in Asia, is benefitting ANSTO researchers such as Dr Massey de los Reyes
Working in Mongolia, and with partners in Asia, is benefitting ANSTO researchers such as Dr Massey de los Reyes.

Dr Fink visited the region in 2013 with scientists from Israel’s Hebrew University and the University of Washington, US, to collect rocks from glacially-carved valleys in the Gobi Altai Mountains. To work out how long moraines in different areas of a valley have been exposed since the glacier retreated, Fink uses a technique called cosmogenic in situ surface exposure dating.

Using ANSTO’s accelerator mass spectrometer, the scientists can establish how long the rocks have been exposed and, therefore, the extent of past glaciation. These records fill in gaps in glacially-driven global climate change covering a period from a few thousand years to about 100,000 years ago.

Fink and his colleagues have undertaken similar work in China and central Tibet in collaboration with researchers at the Chinese Academy of Science. “It really has revolutionised the way we can quantify landscapes,” says Fink.


– Laura Boness