Servier partners Singapore Immunology Network to develop anti-cancer drugs that nip breast cancer in the bud

28/04/2011

Servier has inked a Research Collaboration Agreement (RCA) with Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN). The collaboration aims to develop anti-cancer drugs to suppress tumor-initiating cells (TICs), often called “cancer stem cells”. By targeting TICs, scientists hope to be able to prevent relapse and metastatic outgrowth in cancer patients.

Under this three-year partnership, Servier and SIgN aim to develop drugs directed at restricting the growth of TICs in breast cancer - the most common cancer in women all over the world. Scientists at SIgN, with their expertise in tumour immunology and therapeutic antibodies, will be able to isolate TIC-specific human monoclonal antibodies, and with the help of Servier, develop them into anti-cancer drugs.

Dr. Emmanuel Canet, MD PhD, Head of Research & Development at Servier said, “This partnership exemplifies our vision to collaborate with leading scientists worldwide to discover and develop innovative medicines in the field of cancer where the medical need is still huge. We have been very impressed by the quality of the research work done at the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), which we believe is one of the best such institutes in the world.” 

“Elimination of tumour initiating cells represents a major challenge in oncology. The aim of this collaboration is to develop an innovative approach to identify membrane neo-antigens specifically expressed by breast cancer stem cells. There is a great therapeutic potential since therapeutic antibodies against these neo-antigens could be used to control the residual disease by eliminating cancer stem cells persisting after conventional therapies", said Dr Stéphane Depil, MD PhD, director of Oncology Research & Development Unit at Servier.”