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Barr Ellison Solicitors – commercial property
13 July, 2021 - 21:43 By Tony Quested

Cambridge Cognition wins £1m cancer trial contract

Cambridge Cognition Holdings, which develops and markets digital solutions to assess brain health, has won a £1 million contract as the cognitive assessment partner for a late phase cancer trial.

This is the company’s second contract for a top 10 pharmaceutical company with a strong pipeline of oncology products. The revenue from the contract is expected to be recognised over the next six years.

Oncology is the leading therapeutic area for drug development and accounted for nearly a third of clinical trials in 2020. This contract positions the company in the world's most consistently active disease space with a client that is committed to developing oncology therapeutics.

Cancer survival has doubled in the last 40 years in the UK. With patients now living longer there is a greater focus on limiting potentially detrimental long-term side effects of both diagnosis and treatment.

One key area is cognitive impairment, for which deficits have been reported in 90 per cent of patients with brain tumours and an estimated 30 per cent of patients following chemotherapy.

Cognitive decline associated with cancer most notably affects attention, memory, and executive function. The unnamed pharmaceutical client has selected Cambridge Cognition as the cognitive assessment provider for its pivotal oncology trial as they believe that CANTAB cognitive assessments have the sensitivity to measure these distinct processes.

Consequently, CANTAB will be used worldwide to determine preservation or improvement in cognitive function across all 150 trial sites.

Matthew Stork, CEO of Cambridge Cognition, said: “Earlier detection and advances in treatment have to led to considerable improvements in cancer survival rates and, at the same time, increased attention on the cognitive side-effects.

“This pharmaceutical client has a long-standing commitment to improving outcomes for cancer patients and we are delighted to be supporting their efforts.  We expect that this could become a considerable growth area for Cambridge Cognition in the future.”

As Business Weekly recently reported, a new spin-out from Cambridge Cognition is set to revolutionise treatment for schizophrenia and related disorders and has raised £2.6m to set it on its way.

The new kid on the block is Monument Therapeutics –  a drug development company applying digital phenotyping to central nervous system problems.

Cambridge Cognition has been incubating Monument Therapeutics since 2018, with early-stage research supported by two Innovate UK grants. Monument applies a novel drug development strategy, leveraging digital assessments of cognition to match patients with new pharmaceutical treatments. 

It has a pipeline of promising drug development programmes, with the most advanced two being for cognitive impairment in schizophrenia and for post-operative cognitive dysfunction (POCD). 

The initial targets are both areas of unmet clinical need with limited treatment options. Schizophrenia affects around 20 million people worldwide and there are no approved treatments for the common and disabling cognitive impairment associated with the disorder. 

POCD is a condition arising from major surgery, which can result in cognitive impairment for patients over the age of 65 both immediately (50-80 per cent at discharge) and persistently (10-30 per cent six months post-surgery). 

Almost 250 million major surgical procedures are performed globally every year but there is no dedicated treatment for POCD.

In both approaches, Monument Therapeutics is de-risking development by repurposing drugs with a favourable safety profile and proven mechanisms of action, combining these with proprietary cognitive stratification tools licensed from Cambridge Cognition.

To develop these programmes as an independent company, Monument Therapeutics has secured £2.6m in funding from a consortium of investors led by Catapult Ventures and Neo Kuma Ventures.

Cambridge Cognition has retained a 36.9 per cent stake in Monument and has agreed a license for the use of a number of its gold-standard cognitive assessments, including CANTABTM, for patient stratification. 

On successful commercialisation of its drug development programmes, Monument Therapeutics will pay royalties to Cambridge Cognition.

Jenny Barnett has been appointed CEO of Monument Therapeutics and will continue to work with Cambridge Cognition as its chief scientific officer on a part time basis.

Matthew Stork said: “By establishing Monument Therapeutics, we have created an exciting new venture to develop stratified medicine in CNS drug development that could help many patients with unmet clinical needs. 

“It leverages Cambridge Cognition’s intellectual property and provides the potential for considerable royalty payments in the future. In addition, it gives the company greater focus on the development and commercialisation of its cutting-edge digital health technologies.”

Jenny Barnett added: “A major challenge when developing drugs for patients with psychiatric and neurological conditions is that clinical diagnoses are usually imprecise: two people with the same diagnosis may have little overlap in their signs and symptoms. 

“Fortunately, digital phenotyping can help to stratify these patients, much as areas such as oncology have done with genetic testing. In pursuit of this goal, Monument Therapeutics has put together a team with deep drug development knowledge coupled with unique digital biomarker expertise to bring innovative stratified treatments to market.”

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