Cancer Research UK and Cancer Research Technology Initiate AT13148 Clinical Trial to Treat Several Cancer Types

Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:33pm EST

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DUBLIN, Calif., Jan. 16, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:ASTX), a
pharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel small molecule
therapeutics, today announced that collaborators Cancer Research UK and its commercial arm Cancer
Research Technology (CRT) are launching a trial of an experimental drug shown to simultaneously
block many enzymes that control cancer cell growth and death. The 'master-switch' experimental
drug, owned by Astex Pharmaceuticals, is being studied in a range of cancer types.

Cancer Research UK's Drug Development Office (DDO) will fund, manage and sponsor this early-stage
Phase I clinical trial of up to 40 patients at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The
Royal Marsden Hospital.

The drug, AT13148, is one of eight drugs to be developed through Cancer Research UK's Clinical
Development Partnerships program, which is a joint initiative between the charity's DDO and CRT.
The program develops promising cancer drugs that pharmaceutical companies do not have the
resources to progress through early phase clinical trials to see if they can benefit cancer
patients. Without this program many promising drugs would be left on the shelves gathering dust.

AT13148 is a multi-AGC kinase inhibitor that inhibits several enzymes in the PI3K - AKT tumor cell
survival pathway including protein kinase B (PKB/AKT) and p70S6K. AT13148 shows a distinct
mechanism of action from other AKT inhibitors. Pre-clinical research was published recently (Clin.
Cancer Res.; 2012,18(14); 3912-3923).

The molecule was originally discovered by scientists on the PKB drug discovery program, a
collaboration between Astex Pharmaceuticals, CRT and The Institute of Cancer Research, which ran
from 2003 through 2006.

Harren Jhoti, PhD, Astex Pharmaceuticals president and director said, "We are very gratified with
the progress that the collaboration has achieved and that this work has progressed into the
clinic."

Astex Pharmaceuticals can decide to develop the drug further based on the Phase I/IIa clinical
trial data. If it chooses not to, Cancer Research Technology has the rights to secure an
alternative partner and ensure the drug has every possible chance of reaching patients.

Dr. Victoria John, head of clinical partnerships at Cancer Research UK's Drug Development Office
said, "We're delighted to open the first clinical trial of this experimental drug to find out if
it can benefit cancer patients in the future. This molecule was brought to us at a very early
stage in its development and, with the preclinical work now completed, we're extremely pleased
it's obtained regulatory approval to enter the clinic."

About Astex Pharmaceuticals

Astex Pharmaceuticals is dedicated to the discovery and development of novel small molecule
therapeutics with a focus on oncology. The Company is developing a proprietary pipeline of novel
therapies and is creating de-risked products for partnership with leading pharmaceutical
companies. Astex Pharmaceuticals developed DACOGEN (decitabine) for Injection and receives
significant royalties on global sales.

For more information about Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., please visit http://www.astx.com
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.

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About The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) 

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) is one of the world's most influential cancer research
institutes. Scientists and clinicians at the ICR are working every day to make a real impact on
cancer patients' lives. Through its unique partnership with The Royal Marsden Hospital and
'bench-to-bedside' approach, the ICR is able to create and deliver results in a way that other
institutions cannot. Together the two organizations are rated in the top four cancer centers
globally.
The ICR has an outstanding record of achievement dating back more than 100 years. It provided the
first convincing evidence that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer, laying the foundation for
the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease. Today it leads the world at
isolating cancer-related genes and discovering new targeted drugs for personalized cancer
treatment.

As a college of the University of London, the ICR provides postgraduate higher education of
international distinction. It has charitable status and relies on support from partner
organizations, charities and the general public.

The ICR's mission is to make the discoveries that defeat cancer. For more information visit
www.icr.ac.uk
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About The Institute of Cancer Research's Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit

The Institute of Cancer Research's Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit is the world's
leading academic drug discovery team. It has discovered 16 new drug candidates over the past six
years, with six of these progressing to Phase I clinical trial and one drug - abiraterone - being
licensed in the US, Canada and Europe for patients with advanced prostate cancer. This success was
recently recognized by the American Association of Cancer Research's Team Science Award
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/ctr?d=10018412&l=16&a=recognized%20by%20the%20American%20Association%20of%20Cancer%20Research%27s%20Team%20Science%20Award&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.icr.ac.uk%2Fpress%2Frecent_featured_articles%2FAACR_award%2Findex.shtml
.

About Cancer Research Technology 

Cancer Research Technology (CRT) is a specialist commercialization 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
largest independent funder of cancer research in the world. Further information about CRT can be
found at www.cancertechnology.com
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About Cancer Research UK's Drug Development Office

Cancer Research UK's Drug Development Office has an impressive record of developing novel
treatments for cancer. It currently has a portfolio of around 35 new anti-cancer agents in
preclinical development, phase I or early phase II clinical trials. Since 1982, the Cancer
Research UK Drug Development Office has taken over 120 potential new anti-cancer agents into
clinical trials in patients, six of which have subsequently made it to market and many others are
still in clinical development. Marketed drugs include Temozolomide, a drug discovered by Cancer
Research UK scientists, that is an effective new treatment for brain cancer and Abiraterone which
was co-discovered by Cancer Research UK scientists to treat advanced prostate cancer. Six other
drugs are in late development phase III trials. This rate of success is comparable to that of any
pharmaceutical company.

About Cancer Research UK

* Cancer Research UK is the world's leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through
research.
* The charity's groundbreaking work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has
helped save millions of lives. This work is funded entirely by the public.
* 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 beat cancer.

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity,
please call 020 3469 6699 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org
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CONTACT: Timothy L. Enns
         Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
         Senior Vice President
         Corporate Communications & Marketing
         Tel: +1 (925) 560-2810
         E-mail: tim.enns@astx.com
         
         Alan Roemer
         The Trout Group
         Managing Director
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         E-mail: aroemer@troutgroup.com
         
         Susanna Chau
         Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
         Manager
         Investor Relations
         Tel: +1 (925) 560-2845
         E-mail: susanna.chau@astx.com
         
         Kari Watson
         MacDougall Biomedical Communications
         Senior Vice President
         Tel: +1 (781) 235-3060
         E-mail: kwatson@macbiocom.com