You are here

Alliance Model

Our alliances build on areas where there is a critical mass of world-class basic research funded by Cancer Research UK.

We work with our academic network, potential commercial partners and Cancer Research UK’s Drug Discovery Committee to prioritise areas for evaluation and early portfolio development. Our remit is to deliver first-in-class breakthrough therapies for cancer patients, and our alliance partners share a common perspective on the novelty of the projects undertaken. We seek to be working on targets that are either novel or for which we have differentiation through proprietary disease positioning.

Academic interactions
Central to CRUK-TDL’s alliance model is our access to both basic and clinical world-leading Cancer Research UK funded principal investigators and our laboratories are located close to major centres of academic innovation. We use workshops to bring leading PIs and industry partners together for in-depth exploration of science and opportunities. Once an alliance is formed, we establish a team of leading PIs with complementary knowledge and skill sets relevant to the alliance theme. We also involve PIs on a project-by-project basis.

We also work closely with our Cancer Biology Advisory Board to prioritise themes for further development and to optimise our approaches to target validation and disease positioning, both generally and for specific targets.

Alliance scale and scope
Alliances run from target selection through to an agreed licence point, usually between entry to lead optimisation and candidate drug selection, beyond which our industry partner leads further progression through pre-clinical and clinical development. We also have the option of working with CRUK’s Centre for Drug Development (CDD) to deliver clinical stage projects. In our experience, a term of three years is appropriate to build a portfolio of several projects. CRUK-TDL’s sole driver is patient benefit, and within any theme area we evaluate and carry out validation and drug discovery feasibility studies on multiple targets as we seek to generate a portfolio of projects with compelling clinical hypotheses and strong chemistry. Our partners typically bring their own resource to bear; combined resource dedicated to our alliances has ranged from fewer than 10 to over 50 FTE depending on portfolio size and state of advancement.

Alliance governance
Alliances are governed by agreements between our legal entity, Cancer Research Technology (CRT), and our industry partner that encompass processes for target proposal, selection and prosecution; resource allocation; intellectual property ownership and protection; publications; tool compound nomination; stage gate and licensing package criteria. A Joint Management Team, comprising equal numbers of our staff and staff from our alliance partner organisation, is responsible for resource management across the joint portfolio and delivery of the agreed objectives.