Our research strategy in cancer

Genetic mutations causing uncontrolled cell division can lead to cancer. Scientists continue to make great advances in the treatment of cancer, however it remains a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 1 in 6 deaths globally.

Building on our drug discovery capability in cancer, our scientists are developing cutting edge new therapies to improve cancer patient outcomes. We believe this is best achieved through the discovery and development of highly selective small molecule drugs, in the areas of genetically targeted therapy and Immuno-oncology.

Targeted therapy in genetically defined cancers

Targeted therapies prevent the growth of cancers by inhibiting specific proteins/genes required for tumour growth, with one major advantage being the reduced side effects versus traditional chemotherapy.

Recent advances in precision medicine have shown that drugs which target cancer at the genetic level often have the best outcomes, with the choice of treatment options based on the individual genetic alterations found in a patient’s tumour.

Early in the discovery process, our targeted therapy programmes involve discovering biomarkers to identify a defined/specific patient population that will benefit from our drugs. This includes the identification and targeting of newly emerging clinical resistance mechanisms. We believe this approach will increase our success in the clinic, reduce overall development costs and help to accelerate the delivery of medicines to patients.

Our ambition is to continue to discover and develop proprietary, small molecule drugs for a precision medicine approach to cancer therapy, addressing areas of high unmet medical needs.

Targeted immuno-oncology

Immuno-oncology is an approach that uses the patient’s own immune system to identify and kill the tumour.

Recent advances in immuno-oncology have been transformative, producing long-lasting, robust responses for certain patients. These advances include the immune checkpoint inhibitor class of therapies, such as anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies. Despite these breakthroughs, there remains a significant proportion of patients who are resistant to such treatments, and therefore fail to benefit from these lifesaving therapies.

Our programmes in immuno-oncology aim to combine our compounds with existing immune checkpoint inhibitors to improve response rates in these resistant patient populations.