Liverpool biotech firm Redx Pharma has signed a “transformational” multi-million pound deal with global pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to develop new drugs that will stop the growth of cancerous tumours.
The research project will see scientists from both companies collaborate to discover and develop new molecules targeting a genetic driver of tumour growth and survival.
Most of the research will be carried out at the Redx laboratories in Liverpool city centre.
Redx will receive an upfront payment with the potential to earn significant further royalties according to the success of the project.
Neither side is prepared to talk figures but, typically, drug development deals with major pharmaceutical companies can be worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
Neil Murray, chief executive at Redx Pharma, told ECHO Business: “We have entered into other collaborations but this deal is transformational for Redx. It is the first one we have done with a blue-chip pharmaceutical company.
“The capability we have established at Redx is fundamental to this deal. AstraZeneca have already done some work on this and we will also be bringing things to the table, too.”
Some of the research work will also be carried out at the BioHub at Alderley Park in Cheshire, set up by AstraZeneca in 2013 to allow life sciences companies to benefit from its expertise, and where Redx was one of the first tenants.
The research collaboration will involve Redx scientists working with AstraZeneca’s Oncology Innovative Medicines group to combine complementary skills to accelerate the drug discovery process.
Redx, which employs around 150 people, will use its early stage drug discovery capabilities to identify novel leads whose further development will be supported by AstraZeneca’s extensive knowledge of the area and strong oncology expertise.
The research will complement AstraZeneca’s strategic approach of targeting genetic drivers of cancer and mechanisms of resistance to established and novel cancer therapies.
Susan Galbraith, head of the Oncology Innovative Medicines Unit at AstraZeneca, added: “This agreement supports our strategic objectives of accelerating discovery and improving the quality and choice of candidate compounds for our early pipeline.”