British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) signed a collaboration agreement over the weekend with US-based MD Anderson Cancer Center to develop new drugs that promote an immune system attack against cancer.
Under terms of the agreement, Houston-based MD Anderson will give GSK exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialise the drug, which activate OX40 on the surface of T cells. They were discovered byYong-Jun Liu, M.D., Ph.D. and colleagues when he was professor and chair of MD Anderson'sDepartment of Immunology
MD Anderson, through its new Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS), will collaborate with GSK to conduct preclinical research on the antibodies.
MD Anderson, one of the world's leading cancer research and treatment centre, will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and research funding from GSK, and could earn $335 million plus royalties deriving from the commercial sales of approved drugs developed under the collaboration.
According to MD Anderson, malignant cells are an abnormality that usually attracts a response from the body's immune system, yet cancer often survives by evading or thwarting anti-tumor immunity. Consistently unleashing the power of the immune system against cancer would be a major step forward for cancer patients.
T cells are lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell produced by the thymus, equipped with receptors that recognize and bind to antigens, which may include abnormal cells.
"This agreement is not only a tribute to the ability of MD Anderson scientists to discover new targets and potential therapies against those targets for cancer patients, it's also a testament to the vision shared by GSK and MD Anderson that successful clinical development of oncology drugs requires seamless integration of drug development expertise and deep biological knowledge," said Giulio Draetta, M.D., Ph.D., IACS director.