The partnership will concentrate on the development of two investigational antibodies

Cancer Research UK and UCB have announced a clinical development collaboration to advance two of UCB’s investigational oncology antibody candidates through clinical trials.

The partnership will concentrate on the development of two investigational antibody candidates – UCB6114 and UCB4594. The project will bring together the oncology-focused translational research and clinical development capabilities of Cancer Research UK, alongside UCB’s specialism in the area of antibody discovery.

The investigational candidates may have the potential to offer cancer patients access to new treatment options, provided that clinical trials are successful. UCB4594 is an antibody targeting the immune checkpoint, human leukocyte antigen G, while UCB6114 is an antibody targeting gremlin-1, a glycoprotein secreted by the tumour stroma.

As part of the collaboration, Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development will appoint the chief clinical and scientific investigators, and will oversee the design, preparation, sponsorship and delivery of phase 1/2 clinical trials for both candidates.

Meanwhile, UCB will continue to manufacture both investigational antibody candidates, complete the UCB6114 clinical study – which is ongoing – and undergo a range of supporting activities.

The company will also retain exclusive rights to further develop and commercialise both products and will receive the results of the clinical trials from Cancer Research UK in return for undisclosed success-based payments.

Dhaval Patel, chief scientific officer of UCB, was confident that the partnership can yield success: “UCB’s strong research productivity together with our antibody expertise and desire to better understand and target the drivers of disease, has resulted in two novel and potentially disruptive candidates in oncology.”

He added: “As these candidates move forward, we are happy to enter this collaboration with Cancer Research UK where they will bring world leading oncology expertise and access to a large network of clinical oncologists who can enable the clinical trials.”

Dr Nigel Blackburn, director Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development, concluded: “As funders of much of the world-class cancer research and innovation happening in the UK, we are able to offer our unparalleled access to some of the best oncology expertise and clinical development capabilities to our commercial partners.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with UCB to progress not one, but two novel oncology antibodies and here at the Centre for Drug Development we are looking forward to progressing these programmes through early clinical development.”