Redx Pharma and Pharmascience enter into license agreement for cFMS cancer program

02 May 2013

Liverpool, UK and Montreal, Canada – The early stage drug development company Redx Pharma has today reached an agreement with Canadian-based Pharmascience Inc. to licence its promising anti-cancer program which helps the immune system to recognise and fight cancer.

The program is focused on small molecules that inhibit a receptor in the body called CSF-1R or cFMS which plays an important role in the immune response to cancer.

The receptor influences the way that the body’s immune system interacts with cancer cells in tumours. It also affects how quickly cancer spreads to other parts of the body, particularly to bones.

The license agreement allows Liverpool-based Redx to pursue research and development and commercialization of the Pharmascience program in oncology. The program is currently at the lead optimization stage.

Pharmascience’s novel cFMS inhibitors may help prevent the innate immune system from “tolerating” cancer by keeping macrophages, an important type of immune cell, from converting to their pro-inflammatory, but tumour-tolerant state. By inhibiting this key element of cancer’s ability to hide from the immune system, these compounds may help the body’s immune system to better recognize and kill cancers.

The compounds may also reduce the ability of metastatic cancer cells from being deposited in the bones of cancer patients. Bone metastases are a serious and painful complication of several major cancers including breast and prostate cancer.

Helping the body’s own immune system better recognize and fight cancer is an approach that is attracting significant industry attention following recent validation of this approach by successful therapeutics such as BMS’s Yervoy™.

Dr Neil Murray, chief executive of Redx Pharma, said: We’re delighted to have reached this agreement with Pharmascience. Helping the immune system to effectively deal with and target cancer cells is an extremely exciting emerging area of science and the cFMS oncology program we have licensed has demonstrated the ability to inhibit tumour growth in animal models. By in-licensing this program we are able to both enter this important emerging area of cancer research and advance our overall stage of development as a company.

Dr. Mathieu Boudreau, Director of Business Development and Strategic Planning of Pharmascience, commented: Our discovery research team has identified very promising cFMS inhibitor leads and we strongly believe the Redx research team is well positioned to continue the work we have initiated on this project, while we focus on our BTK inhibitor program and other emerging research programs and progress AEG40826, our IAP inhibitor, into Phase 1b/2 studies. We strongly believe that continued success in our industry will arise through such collaborations and shared efforts.

Financial terms were not disclosed.