Cambridge, UK-based Artios Pharma has exercised an option to in-license the first nuclease drug development programme from its research alliance with Masaryk University in the Czech Republic.

The groups linked in June 2017 to discover and develop novel cancer treatments by targeting DNA nucleases involved in the DNA Damage Response (DDR).

DDR targeted cancer treatments aim to kill cancer cells by inhibiting the DNA repair pathways they rely on to survive and multiply.

As such, DDR inhibitors could act as single agent therapies that selectively kill tumour cells in cancers with certain repair defects, potentiating agents to DNA damaging agents and radiotherapy, and also in combination with novel therapies including immune-oncology treatments, the firm notes.

Under the terms of that agreement, Artios holds the option to in-license one or more programme for further development and commercialisation.

“The in-licensed programme has the potential to become a novel, first-in-class DDR targeted treatment for cancer, which complements our current development pipeline and further supports our position as a leader in the DDR field,” noted Artios’ chief executive Niall Martin.