Partnering opportunity

UK-based SME offers novel small molecule for treatment of cancer


A UK-based SME has developed a novel small molecule that inhibits the Wnt cell signalling pathway that can lead to development of cancer. This molecule has been shown to have potent efficacy combined with excellent safety and is currently going though early clinical trials. The SME is looking to partner with other companies to take the molecule through clinical trials and into the clinic. The partnership is expected to be a licensing agreement or a technical cooperation.

Partner sought

The SME is looking to partner with other companies operating in the pharmaceutical sector, especially those developing therapies for cancer. The SME will offer it's porcupine inhibitor molecule to partners under licence for the partner to take through late stage clinical trials and to commercialisation. It is envisaged that the partnership will take the form of a licensing agreement. Technical cooperations will also be considered depending on circumstances.


There are many cell signalling pathways than can lead to cancer developing. One of these is the Wnt pathway, which is implicated in tumour initiation, growth, cell senescence, cell death, differentiation and metastasis. There is also growing evidence that the Wnt pathway plays a role in the host immune response to tumours and that activation of the pathway may result in resistance to checkpoint inhibitors. Together this means that the Wnt pathway is an attractive target for new compounds aimed at the treatment of cancer. A UK-based SME has developed a novel small molecule that inhibits porcupine, a protein that initiates Wnt signalling. This molecule has the potential to benefit patients with cancers in which Wnt signalling is implicated, such as stonach, liver and pancreatic cancer. Testing on this molecule shows that it displays anti-proliferative activity in pre-clinical in vivo models, has a favourable pharmacokinetic profile in vitro and in vivo in pre-clinical species leading to an achievable predicted human efficacious dose following oral administration. Pre-clinical safety studies have been completed and MHRA approval gained for first-in-human clinical studies, with these studies currently underway. The SME is offering this molecule to companies operating in the pharmaceutical sector for further development, Phase 3, and commercialisation under license. It is expected that the cooperation will take the form of a licensing agreement, although technical cooperations will be considered depending on circumstances.

Advantages and innovations

The SME's novel small molecule has the following advantages: Potent efficacy demonstrated in mouse models. The molecule resulted in significant inhibition of tumour growth and tumour reduction compared with vehicle controls. The molecule improves the anti-tumour effect of anti PD-1 treatment in a mouse syngeneic model. Safety testing has shown no toxicity issues or adverse effects.

Development stage

Under development/lab tested

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Secret Know-how,Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted

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