UCL News


UCL spin-out and top pharmaceutical company to develop anti-cancer agent

22 May 2003

The UCL spin-out company Spirogen today announced its collaboration with the pharmaceutical company Beaufour Ibsen to develop the anti-tumour agent SJG-136.

The agreement provides Beaufour Ibsen with exclusive access to three selected gene targets as a platform for the synthesis and development of further anti-cancer drug candidates as well as a 20 per cent equity stake in Spirogen.

SJG-136 spans six base pairs of DNA and has significant activity in a number of human tumour xenograft (animal) models including brain melanoma, breast, ovarian and colon tumours. The agent is currently in pre-clinical development with Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute in the USA. Phase I clinical trials are planned for both the UK, in Q2 and USA in Q4 this year.

Commenting on the agreement, Dr Chris Martin, CEO of Spirogen said:

"The development of chemotherapeutics which target specific genes represents the cutting edge of molecular research. We are delighted to be working with Beaufour Ipsen to develop such compounds for the oncology market. This agreement is in line with Spirogen's strategy of developing drug candidates and its gene targeting technology in partnership with pharmaceutical companies while taking forward its own anti-cancer DNA sequence binding agents".

Dr Alistair Stokes, Beaufour Ipsen's Group Vice-President, Corporate Development said:

"We believe that SJG-136 has the potential to be an important addition to the anti-cancer therapeutic armoury. This agreement reflects the Group's policy of seeking alliances that will help us gain access to new products and technologies in our core therapeutic areas".

For further information please contact: Heidi Foden, UCL Media Relations, 020 7679 7678.

Note to Editors:
UCL was one of the first universities in the UK to establish a unit dedicated to technology licensing and the creation of spin-out companies. Since 1990, UCL has filed hundreds of patents and has actively commercialised the underlying technologies to existing firms, and increasingly, to spin-out companies. UCL has been active in the creation of approximately 44 spin-out companies. These range from niche consultancies to venture capital backed companies with extraordinary growth potential. Some of the UCL's successful bioscience spin-out companies are; Ark Therapeutics, Arrow Therapeutics, Biovex, Ionix, Inpharmatica, SR Pharma and Spirogen.