UK-based company Argenta Discovery has teamed up with research and development organisation PRECOS (Pre-Clinical Oncology Services) to offer cancer drug discovery services and expertise on a fee-for-service basis.

Argenta is developing proprietary therapeutics for chronic respiratory diseases. It also has a contract research division, providing integrated drug discovery services that span medicinal chemistry, computer-aided drug design, biochemistry, in vitro screening and drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics studies.

The alliance with PRECOS, a spin-out from the University of Nottingham’s Academic Unit of Cancer Studies in the UK, will enable the two partners to take on complete, integrated oncology drug discovery programmes for contract research clients, from ‘hit finding’ to in vivo proof of concept.

What makes PRECOS a recognised oncology specialist in preclinical research and development is its unique, patient-relevant in vivo models, noted scientific director Professor Susan Watson. These models “closely reflect the clinical situation for each aspect of cancer progression, encompassing pre-cancerous lesions, primary tumours and metastasis”.

Argenta “has undertaken many successful medicinal chemistry-driven cancer drug discovery contract research projects in the past, but we have been looking at ways of enhancing our capabilities in this therapeutic area, where there is still considerable unmet medical need,” commented chief executive officer Dr Christopher Ashton.

“We have several ongoing cancer-focused contract research programmes and a number of projects in the pipeline which are likely to benefit from PRECOS’ support and know-how,” he added.