London-based ImmuPharma has taken on board worldwide development and commercialisation rights to a new cancer candidate with anti-angiongenic and anti-proliferative properties.

The fruit of a research alliance between the company and France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IPP-204106 is designed to block the activity of a protein called nucleolin, which is around 100 more time abundant on the surface of cells which are proliferating and plays a key role in the formation of blood vessels.

The group certainly seems excited about the drug’s potential, particularly as preclinical studies have shown that nucleolin antagonists can hold back tumour growth and metastasis in various different types of cancer types, and early data indicate the absence of toxicity.

“If we were to assume that proliferation, adhesion and angiogenesis can be blocked without major safety issues a tremendous achievement in cancer treatment will be obtained," commented Dr Robert Zimmer, ImmuPharma's Chief Scientific Officer. “This exciting new drug candidate has a tremendous commercial potential if it meets its target profile of preventing tumour growth as well as metastasis while being non-toxic,” added the company’s chief, Dimitri Dimitriou.

The group’s shares closed up 2.2% at 68.5 pence yesterday on the London Stock Exchange.