Cancer Research UK and Lorus to Co-Develop First-Of-Kind Drug, IL-17E, to Treat Solid Tumours

Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:31am EST

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CANCER RESEARCH UK'S Drug Development Office; Cancer Research Technology,
the charity's commercial arm; and biopharmaceutical company, Lorus
Therapeutics Inc. (Lorus) (TSX:LOR), have partnered to take a new therapy
with the potential to treat solid tumours, into its first clinical trial.

    The treatment, IL-17E, is a type of protein called a pro-inflammatory
cytokine which according to research done at Lorus is thought to elicit
an immune response which attacks cancer cells, and determining exactly
how it does this will form part of the work being done. It incorporates
technology owned by both Lorus and Genentech(i). Lorus scientists were
the first to discover the anticancer properties of IL-17E against a range
of solid tumours(ii). 

    Cancer Research UK's Clinical Development Partnerships (CDP) is a joint
initiative between Cancer Research UK's Drug Development Office (DDO) and
Cancer Research Technology, to develop promising anticancer agents that
may not otherwise be developed, and take them through preclinical
development and early clinical trials. 

    With the CDP scheme companies retain the background rights to their
programmes while enabling Cancer Research UK to take on early development
work to evaluate the benefit to cancer patients. Three drugs are now in
clinical trials(iii) with others scheduled to open early 2013.

    Cancer Research UK's DDO will fund and undertake extensive preclinical
work led by Professor Christian Ottensmeier at the University of
Southampton, England, to further investigate the mechanism by which the
protein destroys cancer cells and to further develop the drug for use in
treating cancer patients. 

    The DDO will then fund, manage and sponsor the first Phase I clinical
trial led by Professor Chris Twelves and Dr Christy Ralph at the Cancer
Research UK/NIHR Leeds Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, based at the
University of Leeds, England. Lorus will manufacture and supply IL-17E
for the non-clinical toxicology and Phase I clinical studies.

    Professor Christian Ottensmeier, Cancer Research UK scientist at the
University of Southampton, said: "This important partnership means we'll
be able to better understand how this molecule destroys cancer cells. We
will investigate if it somehow supercharges the immune system to hunt
down and attack cancer cells, or if it is able to trigger a 'suicide'
signal in these cells so they self-destruct, or both, as suggested by
research already done at Lorus. 

    "This will give us the evidence we need to take this drug further into
clinical trials to investigate potential benefit to patients."

    After the Phase I trial, Lorus will have the exclusive option to license
the Phase I clinical trial data and resume further clinical development.
If it does not exercise this option, the rights to the programme would be
transferred to Cancer Research Technology to secure an alternative
partner, with the aim to make the treatment available for cancer patients
while Lorus would retain certain economic interests.

    Dr Aiping Young, President and CEO of Lorus, said: "At Lorus our primary
focus is to discover and develop novel therapies to treat some of the
most important and hard-to-treat cancers. IL-17E fits all the criteria to
potentially qualify as a truly unique, first-in-class cytokine-based
approach to treating a range of solid tumours. 

    "Cancer Research UK is world renowned for its cancer research and has
done similar partnership deals through its CDP initiative with some of
the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. We believe this partnership
with Cancer Research UK is not only a validation of our IL-17E
technology, but it also offers Lorus an innovative avenue to develop this
programme, and affords us the opportunity to progress as many of our
programmes as possible into the clinic. 

    "We are excited about collaborating with Cancer Research UK and its
important network of academic and clinical collaborators in the
immunotherapy field and look forward to the outcome of some key studies
in the next 24 months."

    Dr Victoria John, head of clinical partnerships, at Cancer Research UK's
Drug Development Office, said: "Without our unique CDP initiative, it
might not have been possible to develop this promising treatment,
stalling progress to provide potential new options for patients for whom
existing treatments no longer work. 

    "We're delighted to be working with our Canadian partner Lorus
Therapeutics right from the start - collaborating closely in the
preclinical research right through to manufacture and the first ever
trial with patients. 

    "IL-17E is the third biological treatment we have brought into the CDP
portfolio, building on our existing partnerships with international
pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to develop a multipeptide
vaccine, a monoclonal antibody as well as five other molecularly targeted

    "This latest partnership further demonstrates the breadth of molecules we
can develop. And we will continue to seek future partnerships, so that by
working alongside industry to combine skills and expertise we can reach
our goal to license new treatments, and save more lives from cancer."

    IL-17E was selected following a rigorous peer-review process conducted by
Cancer Research UK's New Agents Committee (NAC). Assessment of IL-17E by
the NAC was based on several criteria, including scientific rationale,
quality of the anticancer data in relevant tumour models, novelty, and
clinical need. IL-17E is the eighth treatment to enter Cancer Research
UK's Clinical Development Partnerships (CDP) scheme.

    Notes to editors:

    (i)Genentech has patent rights over the composition of matter to IL-17E
and Lorus has patent rights for the use of IL-17E in cancer. Lorus also
has an IP licence agreement with Genentech to develop IL-17E for cancer

    (ii)Including human melanoma, pancreatic, colon, lung, ovarian and breast
tumour models; all while demonstrating an excellent safety profile in
animal studies. 

    (iii)AZD0424, GSK1070916A, IMA950.

    About Clinical Development Partnerships

    About Lorus

    Lorus is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, research
and development of novel therapeutics in cancer. Lorus' goal is to
capitalize on its research, preclinical, clinical and regulatory
expertise by developing new targeted therapy approaches including
first-in-class drug candidates that can be used, either alone, or in
combination with other drugs, to successfully manage cancer. Lorus also
has expertise in antimicrobial drug discovery. Lorus Therapeutics Inc. is
listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol LOR. 

    About Cancer Research UK's Drug Development Office

    Cancer Research UK has an impressive record of developing novel
treatments for cancer. It currently has a portfolio of over 30 new
anticancer agents in preclinical development, phase I or early phase II
clinical trials.

    Since 1982, the Cancer Research UK Drug Development Office has completed
130 trials of 110 different potential new anti-cancer agents or
combinations of agents into clinical trials in patients. Five compounds
have made it to market: Temozolomide, a drug discovered by Cancer
Research UK scientists, that is an effective new treatment for brain
cancer and more recently Abiraterone for prostate cancer as well as
Alimta, Etoposid and Formestane. Nine other drugs are in late development
phase III trials and many others are still in clinical development.

    About the ECMC Network

    The Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) network is jointly
supported by Cancer Research UK, the National Institute for Health
Research in England, and the Departments of Health of Scotland, Wales and
Northern Ireland. It launched in 2006, with GBP 35M funding over five
years, with a further GBP 35M announced in 2011 for five more years to
fund centres across the UK. Each ECMC brings together lab-based experts
in cancer biology with cancer doctors to speed up the flow of ideas from
the lab bench to the patient's bedside. Find out more at

    About the NIHR

    The National Institute for Health Research provides the framework through
which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in
England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research
facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure
it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its
partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its
aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and
collaborators), working in world class facilities (both NHS and
university), conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of

    The University of Southampton

    The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research
institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and
scholarship across a wide range of subjects in engineering, science,
social sciences, health and humanities. 

    With over 23,000 students, around 5000 staff, and an annual turnover well
in excess of GBP 435M, the University of Southampton is acknowledged as
one of the country's top institutions for engineering, computer science
and medicine. The University combines academic excellence with an
innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture
that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of

    The University is also home to a number of world-leading research centres
including the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the
Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Web Science Trust and Doctoral
training Centre, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and
Disease, the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute and is a
partner of the National Oceanography Centre at the Southampton waterfront

    About Cancer Research Technology

    Cancer Research Technology (CRT) is a specialist commercialisation and
development company, which aims to develop new discoveries in cancer
research for the benefit of cancer patients. CRT works closely with
leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect
intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links
with commercial partners. CRT facilitates the discovery, development and
marketing of new cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling
technologies. CRT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK, the
world's leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through
research. Further information about CRT can be found at

    About Cancer Research UK

--  Cancer Research UK is the world's leading cancer charity dedicated to
    saving lives through research. 
--  The charity's pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and
    treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives. 
--  Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving
    research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every
    pound donated. 
--  Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has
    already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years. 
--  Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through
    the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses. 
--  Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision
    is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. 

    For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out
how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1861 or visit Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

    Lorus Forward Looking Statements

    This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning
of Canadian and U.S. securities laws. Such statements include, but are
not limited to, statements relating to: the ability of the company to
continue as a going concern, the ability to find future financing, the
ability to advance IL-17E into Phase I clinical trials, our ability to
successfully manufacture IL-17E, the treatment potential of IL-17E,
Lorus' ability to maintain the license agreement with Cancer Research UK,
the Company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other
statements including words such as "continue", "expect", "intend",
"will", "should", "would", "may", and other similar expressions. Such
statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and
are subject to risks and uncertainties and are necessarily based upon a
number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by
us are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive,
political and social uncertainties and contingencies. Many factors could
cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially
different from any future results, performance or achievements described
in this press release. Such expressed or implied forward-looking
statements could include, among others: our ability to continue to
operate as a going concern; our ability to obtain the capital required
for research and operations; the inherent risks in early stage drug
development including demonstrating efficacy; development time/cost and
the regulatory approval process; the progress of our clinical trials; and
other risks detailed from time-to-time in our ongoing quarterly filings,
annual information forms, annual reports and annual filings with Canadian
securities regulators and the United States Securities and Exchange

    Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should
the assumptions set out in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in our
filings with Canadian securities regulators and the United States
Securities and Exchange Commission underlying those forward-looking
statements prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those
described herein. These forward-looking statements are made as of the
date of this press release and we do not intend, and do not assume any
obligation, to update these forward-looking statements, except as
required by law. We cannot assure you that such statements will prove to
be accurate as actual results and future events could differ materially
from those anticipated in such statements. Investors are cautioned that
forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and
accordingly investors are cautioned not to put undue reliance on
forward-looking statements due to the inherent uncertainty therein.

Media Enquiries
Cancer Research UK:
Emma Rigby
020 3469 8300
Out-of-hours, the duty press officer: 07050 264 059

Lorus Therapeutics:
Grace Tse
+1-416-798-1200 ext. 380

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