Carrick Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the innovative research and development of transformative oncology medicines, today announced that the first patient has been dosed in the phase 1 clinical programme of CT7001 – an orally bio-available Cyclin-dependent Kinase 7 (CDK7) selective inhibitor, that has shown striking efficacy in multiple pre-clinical cancer models.
Elaine Sullivan, chief executive of Carrick Therapeutics, said:
“We are excited by the potential of CT7001 to make a major difference in cancer treatment, and intend to rapidly progress CT7001 through clinical development and bring this promising new medicine to patients as quickly as possible. This is a significant achievement for Carrick to take a pre-clinical candidate to first patient dosed in less than two years.”
CDK7 inhibition has emerged as a promising strategy in a range of cancer indications. CDK7 acts as a master regulator of transcription, as well as a regulator of the cell cycle through phosphorylation of members of the CDK family. Inhibition of CDK7 suppresses the expression of key oncogenes such as c-Myc.
CT7001 was found to be effective in pre-clinical models of breast cancer, both hormone receptor positive and triple-negative, and transcriptionally driven cancers such as acute myeloid leukemia and small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). All these cancers continue to have major unmet medical need, for example, very little progress has been made for decades in the treatment of SCLC and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Due to its differentiated mechanism, CT7001 is also predicted to be efficacious where resistance has developed to current therapies.
CT7001 originated from Cancer Research UK funded scientists at Imperial College London and was licensed to Carrick by the charity’s Commercial Partnerships Team. Rapid subsequent preclinical development by the company’s experienced research and development team has led to approval for the first-in-human Phase I study. Efficacy studies are planned to start in 2018.
Carrick Therapeutics was established with an initial funding round that saw it raise $95 million, and continues to build its portfolio through partnering. Significantly, whilst other companies bank on a single molecule or biological mechanism, Carrick will build a portfolio that targets multiple mechanisms that drive cancer. In close partnership with a network of clinicians and scientists in internationally leading research institutes and hospitals, the business will drive its portfolio of ground-breaking cancer therapies from laboratories to the clinic.
The funding of Carrick Therapeutics was co-led by ARCH Venture Partners and Woodford Investment Management, with participation from Cambridge Enterprise, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Evotec, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and Lightstone Ventures.