The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Ascentage Pharma Group, Inc. today announced a five-year strategic collaboration agreement to advance the development of five potential new cancer therapies.

Newswise — The alliance is aimed at developing novel cancer therapeutics based upon Ascentage’s proprietary Protein-Protein Interaction drug discovery technology platform. MD Anderson’s leukemia team will join in efforts to advance the clinical development of Ascentage’s apoptosis-targeted and tyrosine kinase inhibitor candidates, including Bcr-Abl inhibitor HQP1351, Bcl-2/xL inhibitor APG-1252, Bcl-2 selective inhibitor APG-2575, IAP inhibitor APG-1387 and MDM2-p53 inhibitor APG-115. These compounds will be studied as single-agent therapies, as well as in combination with approved or investigational therapeutics against various forms of hematologic malignancies.

The strategic alliance leverages MD Anderson’s translational research and clinical expertise to help accelerate the development of the select candidates, chosen for their potential to target cancer cell apoptosis and other pathways for treating life-threatening cancers, such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), and myelofibrosis. The alliance will be led by Hagop Kantarjian, M.D., chair of Leukemia at MD Anderson, whose research and collaborations were the basis for the FDA approvals of over 20 drugs in leukemia.

“MD Anderson is highly dedicated to developing and providing more effective therapies for patients. This strategic alliance is important for our work towards finding cures to treat cancers,” said Kantarjian. “We will be investigating this pipeline of candidate therapies, and we are interested in the novel mechanism of their actions." 

“We are pleased to announce this important partnership with MD Anderson,” said Dajun Yang, M.D., Ph.D., chairman and CEO of Ascentage Pharma. “We look forward to working closely with the investigators at MD Anderson in the hopes of accelerating the clinical development of these important candidates to provide new treatment options for cancer patients in the U.S. and worldwide.”