University of Aberdeen spin-out company licenses cancer-related protein to USA drug development comp

University of Aberdeen spin-out company licenses cancer-related protein to USA drug development comp

AUniversity of Aberdeen spin-out company, Auvation, has licensed its intellectual property rights to a unique cancer-related protein to USA-based drug development company, ZYCOS INC.

The protein, P450 CYP1B1, is expressed in almost every major type of human cancer and has enormous potential as a broad, anti-cancer drug target. The protein and its importance were jointly discovered by Professor Bill Greenlee, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Dr Graeme Murray (Department of Pathology, University of Aberdeen), Professor Danny Burke (formerly of the University of Aberdeen’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and now at De Montfort University, Leicester) and Dr Bill Melvin, Managing Director of Auvation and a Senior Lecturer in the University of Aberdeen’s Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.

Dr Murray explained: “The discovery of this protein and the recognition of its importance is a crucial step forward in the fight against cancer. It is found in the cells of all tumours. As a result, this will enable ZYCOS to develop drugs which can target the cancerous cells but not the healthy ones”

Dr Melvin added: “Under this agreement, both Auvation and the University of Massachusetts Medical School will receive licence fees, milestone payments and royalty payments. ZYCOS has bought exclusive world-wide rights to the immunotherapeutic and diagnostic applications of CYP1B1. We are now having discussion with other companies who are interested in the protein for other therapeutic areas.

“This is an enormously exciting development for Auvation which was established in 1996 to enable he commercial development of medical discoveries made at the University of Aberdeen.”

Commenting on the development, Principal of the University of Aberdeen, C Duncan Rice, said: “I am very pleased to see yet another potential medical breakthrough emerge from our Medical School. There is such an expansion of medical-related biotechnology research within our Institute of Medical Sciences that advances, such as this exciting development, are always a possibility and this discovery can have a real impact upon the better understanding of diagnosis and consequently treatments for a disease which still casts too large a shadow over all people.

“The University of Aberdeen continues to play a central role in tackling many of the world’s major diseases and I am pleased that our understanding of some of the mechanisms which are involved in the development of cancer are now being transferred to a company which has the expertise to use that knowledge to develop valuable anti-cancer drugs.”

Dr Aaron Lazare MD, Chancellor and Dean of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, said: “Once again, University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers are leading the way toward potential anti-cancer treatments. We are pleased to license ZYCOS to help bring life-saving therapies to patients.”

Britain’s foremost cancer charity, The Cancer Research Campaign, has joined forces with Dr Melvin by awarding him a research grant to help move his work forward.

Commenting of the agreement, The Campaign’s Director General, Professor Gordon McVie, said: “This is a great example of how academia and industry are working together to help defeat cancer.

“The Cancer Research Campaign is very excited about working with Dr Melvin to help bring cancer treatments closer to patients.”

Further information from:

Christine Cook, Executive Director of Public Relations, Tel: 01224 272013

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