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Nuvectis: cancer drug takes a major step closer to patient care

16 May 2023

A new drug candidate for hard-to-treat cancers, discovered at the University of Edinburgh and licensed by biopharmaceutical company Nuvectis Pharma, Inc., has received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance to proceed to clinical trials.

The compound, NXP900, employs a novel mechanism of action to inhibit the activity of SRC family kinases (a particular group of enzymatic proteins), in particular YES1 and SRC. An association between the SRC family of kinases and cancer growth has been known for several decades but previous attempts at treating solid tumours using this mechanism have met with little success.

NXP900 has shown the potential to reduce the growth of many types of cancer associated with SRC kinases, including breast, ovarian, head and neck and oesophageal cancers.

The Nuvectis announcement that the Investigational New Drug Application (IND) for NX900 has been cleared by the FDA means that clinical trials can now begin, with a Phase 1a study pending.

The development programme was led by Professors Neil Carragher and Asier Unciti-Broceta at the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre within the University of Edinburgh’s Institute of Genetics and Cancer, involving more than ten years of research.

Nuvectis licensed rights to NXP900 in September 2021 from the University of Edinburgh in a deal facilitated by Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service.

Professor Carragher (pictured) said:

The goal of our research is to improve cancer care and improve people’s lives. We are very excited that NXP900 has reached the milestone of FDA IND clearance and we are now an important step closer to developing medicines for cancers that are currently so difficult to treat. ”

Professor Unciti-Broceta said:

This brilliant collaboration with Nuvectis gives us the best chance of getting this treatment to patients and making a real impact on cancer care across the world."
To discover a drug from scratch and know it will go to patients is an amazing achievement to all the Edinburgh researchers involved in this programme. ”

Dr John Lonsdale, Head of Enterprise Services at Edinburgh Innovations, said:

The IND clearance to advance NXP900 to a phase I clinical trial is a significant validation of a preclinical asset coming out of an academic lab and a big step forward in developing innovative medicines with the potential to benefit cancer patients."
We are excited to see a technology developed at the University of Edinburgh progress to the clinic. Being able to translate cutting-edge, innovative research and work closely with a talented academic team and commercial partner is why we do this work. ”

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Image: cancer cell, credit: Peter Schreiber Media