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7 April, 2020 - 16:17 By Jamie Quested

CellCentric signs deal for clinical trial expansion into the US

In another world first for a Cambridge UK life science business, CellCentric  has developed CCS1477 – the first p300/CBP inhibitor of its kind – for use in the treatment of multiple cancer types.

The Chesterford Research Park company says the drug will transition into Phase II dose expansion clinical trials this summer. In May 2018 CellCentric raised $26 million in private financing to fund clinical testing of its first-in-class oncology drug candidate CCS1477 to treat prostate cancer.

Expanding on UK-based clinical activities, the company is set to open US clinical sites for patient recruitment within that timeframe.

CellCentric has signed a milestone agreement with the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trial Consortium, LLC (PCCTC), headquartered in New York, to help select and manage US sites for the ongoing evaluation of CCS1477. 

Overall management of the clinical programme will be retained by CellCentric’s clinical team.

The company explains that  p300/CBP are twin histone acetyltransferases that act as critical co-regulators of transcriptional networks relevant to cancer. 

Inhibiting the twin proteins has significant potential for late stage drug resistant prostate cancer, haematological malignancies (MM, AML, lymphomas), as well as certain tumours with specific genetic drivers including bladder, small cell lung and breast cancers. 

Clinical trials are already well underway across the UK under the supervision of chief investigators Professor Johann de Bono (The Royal Marsden) and Professor Tim Somervaille (The Christie).

CellCentric has had long standing scientific research collaborations in the US, including with Professors Karen Knudsen (SKCC, Thomas Jefferson, PA), Laura Pasqualucci (SKMC, NY), and Leif Bergsagel (Mayo, Phoenix, AZ). 

Now, in partnership with the PCCTC, the company will be expanding its clinical programme into multiple hospitals. This will help accelerate CCS1477’s progress to clinical proof of concept for multiple applications.

Dr Karen Clegg, CellCentric’s clinical operations director said: “We are delighted to be working with the PCCTC, not just for our prostate cancer clinical trial expansion, but also for other indications, including haematological malignancies. 

“The PCCTC offers a perfect fit of both US operational capability and clinical research expertise, allowing us to scale efficiently and flexibly.”

The PCCTC offers multi-centre clinical trials management through its comprehensive suite of contract research organisation services. The organisation was originally formed through the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) and the U.S. Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP). 

In 2014, the PCCTC became a fully independent entity and is now the US’s premier clinical research organisation specialising in prostate cancer research, as well as supporting other oncology studies.

CellCentric is a development stage biotechnology company focused on a first-in-class p300/CBP bromodomain inhibitor drug, CCS1477, to treat specific cancers. 

The company investigated over 50 potential epigenetic-related drug targets, before focusing on the twin histone acetyl transferases p300/CBP. An earlier programme, based on an arginine methyltransferase target, was licensed to Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

CellCentric is a privately held business, with Morningside Venture Investments as its lead investor. UK based in Cambridge, Manchester and Oxford, it has multiple international operations and collaborations.

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