Celltech joins forces with US healthcare company


Celltech has teamed up with healthcare giant, Johnson & Johnson to develop a new cancer treatment.

The new drug is taken by mouth and involves blocking the enzyme KDR kinase, which plays a major part in forming new blood vessels in tumours.

Johnson & Johnson will pay for the development and subsequent marketing, with Celltech earning an initial payment, plus development milestone cash and royalties.

Celltech, which has a major plant at Granta Park, has a library of inhibitors (blockers) which will be vital for the new drug.

The two companies say there have already been promising preclinical results, delaying or reducing tumour growth, but at the same time with fewer side-effects.

There is a good chance the drugs will also help patients with diabetic retinopathy.

Dr Peter Fellner, Celltech boss, said: 'We believe this class of compounds could have significant potential in the treatment of a wide range of cancers.

'We see this alliance as an effective way to speed up development.'