A new drug candidate for hard-to-treat cancers, discovered at the University of Edinburgh and licensed by biopharmaceutical company Nuvectis Pharma, Inc. (“Nuvectis” or “Company”), can now begin clinical trials as announced by Nuvectis.

The compound, NXP900, employs a novel mechanism of action to inhibit the activity of kinases from the SRC family, in particular YES1 and SRC, that have been associated with cancer growth for several decades but have resisted previous attempts at attack in solid tumours.

NXP900 has shown the potential to reduce the growth of many types of cancer driven by SRC such as breast, colon, prostate and ovarian cancer, as well as many driven by YES1 such as tumours affecting the lungs, head and neck and oesophagus.

The Investigational New Drug Application (IND) for NX900 has been cleared by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) and clinical trials can now begin, with a Phase 1a study pending.

The programme was discovered by Professors Neil Carragher and Asier Unciti-Broceta at the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre within the University of Edinburgh’s Institute of Genetics and Cancer, after ten years of research. Nuvectis licensed rights to NXP900 in September 2021 from the University of Edinburgh in a deal facilitated by Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service.

Professor Carragher said: “The goal of our research is to improve cancer care and improve people’s lives. We are very excited that NXP900 has reached the milestone of FDA clearance and we are now an important step closer to developing medicines for cancers that are currently so difficult to treat.”

Professor Unciti-Broceta said: “This brilliant collaboration with Nuvectis gives us the best chance of getting this treatment to patients and making a real impact on cancer care across the world.

“To discover a drug from the scratch and know that will go to patients is an amazing achievement to all the Edinburgh researchers involved in this programme.”

Dr Andrea Taylor, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Edinburgh Innovations, said: “Engineering biology to innovate drug discovery is an exciting area of expertise at the University of Edinburgh, which can help us find real-world solutions to global health challenges such as persistently hard-to-treat cancers.

“The landmark deal with Nuvectis and the University, facilitated by Edinburgh Innovations, demonstrates the excellence of the University’s academics and our commitment to making ideas work for a better world.

“We congratulate Neil, Asier and their teams, along with all at Nuvectis, on the passing of this latest milestone.”