DCB licenses out anti-cancer drug leads to four pharmaceutical companies in Taiwan(2011/5/26)

May 26th, 2011 | Categories: 2011 | Tags:

An innovative cancer drug lead targeting at mTOR is transferred to four companies in Taiwan: Standard Chem. & Pharm, Yung Shin Pharm, China Chemical & Pharmaceutical, and Synmosa Biopharma. This is done through an R&D alliance supported by the Industrial Technology Development Program of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). Results from animal studies show that the drug lead inhibits growth of tumors derived from human lung cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer cells. Through collaboration with a research group lead by Dr. Pan-Chyr Yang at National Taiwan University Medical School, growth Inhibition of tumors derived from human lung adenocarcinoma has also been demonstrated.

The Department of Industrial Technology (DOIT) of MOEA commented that the R&D alliance serves as a good example for enhancing ties among the upstream academia, the mid-stream non-profit organizations, and the downstream industry, in the new drug development value-chain, and is expected to lead to future collaborations in clinical and commercial developments. DCB president – Dr. Chia-Lin Jeff Wang also commented that the early participation of the four companies through the alliance will not only bring the benefits of cost-reduction and risk-sharing, but also ease future transitions from the R&D phase to the industrialization phase as the project progresses.

The cancer drug target — mTOR plays a pivotal role in cell signaling pathways for proliferation and growth, and there are two types of mTOR complexes, namely mTORC1 and mTORC2. In contrast to an existing drug – rapamycin, which inhibits only mTORC1, and which is prone to drug resistance, the novel mTOR inhibitor developed at DCB, inhibits both mTORC1, mTORC2, as well as a third target — PI3K, says group leader of the small molecule drug group of DCB — Dr. Bao-Nien Chen. If everything goes well, the project should be able to file Investigational New Drug (IND) applications for entering clinical trials, on various cancer indications, by the end of next year, Dr. Chen says.

According to Business Insight (2010), global cancer drug market in 2009 reached 51.7 billion USD, and at an estimated compound annual growth rate of 8.4%, the market will reach 77.3 billion USD in 2015. The combined global market for the three indications currently targeted by DCB’s drug lead — lung, breast and prostate cancer — is estimated to be over 300 billion USD. Successful development and commercialization of the drug lead should not only offer new treatment choices for cancer patients, but also create great values in fostering the growth of Taiwan’s new drug industry.

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