Invest NI offers £3m support towards the anti-cancer project

© Professor Ian Greer, vice-chancellor, Queen’s University Belfast, Dr. Robert Ladner, CEO, CV6, Mel C…

CV6 is dedicated to improving the lives of patients with cancer and inflammatory diseases through the development of innovative therapeutics.

It relocated to Northern Ireland from the USA in 2015, attracted by the research capabilities here and the opportunity to collaborate with Queen’s University Belfast (Queen’s).

Dr Robert Ladner, CEO of CV6, said: “CV6-168 has the potential to be a widely impactful oncology product, improving outcomes for patients in multiple cancer types. Moving into the first-in-human Phase 1a clinical trial is therefore an important milestone for us.

“Pre-clinical studies show that CV6-168 works alongside standard cancer therapies to activate a mechanism of action that induces cancer cell DNA damage and cell death while activating the immune system to further enhance its anticancer effect.

“This Phase 1a trial will focus on safety, measuring how the drug is absorbed by the body, identifying optimal dosing levels and gathering initial indications of anti-cancer efficacy.

“We will be carrying out further scientific research with Queen’s and initiating the clinical trial with sites in the UK, including the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust through the Belfast Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, with local patients potentially benefiting from the trial.

“Raising funding for research like this is challenging. We are grateful for the continued support of Invest NI and investors.”

Invest NI has offered support of £3m towards the project through a Grant for Research & Development. CV6 has also raised £5m of investment from investors including Qubis, Techstart and Clarendon.

Mel Chittock, Interim CEO, Invest NI, explained: “We supported the initial phase of CV6’s research, carried out by CV6 at Queen’s, to develop this new cancer drug. The clinical trials stage is a significant step for the company and the project. This is one of the first Northern Ireland developed drugs to be trialled here and will significantly boost the regions credibility and visibility in cancer drug development.

“This is a large scale strategic and highly innovative R&D investment. Funding a project of this calibre, scale and nature allows Northern Ireland to further develop its life sciences ecosystem to continue to attract leading science, technology and entrepreneurs to Northern Ireland.

“The Life & Health Sciences sector is a priority sector in the Department for Economy’s 10X economy vision. The knowledge gained from research such as this, combined with collaboration with our universities, has the potential to stimulate innovation spill-overs and attract licencing deals from major pharmaceutical companies.”

CV6 is based at the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research and employs six staff. To support this next stage of drug development it will be creating four new roles.

Queen’s University vice-chancellor professor Ian Greer, added: “Thanks to collaboration with key players across the university, health and business sectors, we are delighted that the drug initially developed by CV6 at Queen’s is now entering clinical trials stage, with the potential to improve treatments for a number of cancers.

“It is through integrating the activities of clinicians, life scientists and data scientists with industry partners to identify and develop new diagnostic tests, treatments, and health related technologies, that we are able to make a huge impact to improve cancer treatment and more.”

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