The University of Barcelona expands its collaboration with a British company to research drugs to treat cancer

The University of Barcelona (UB) has extended its collaboration agreement with the British company ValiRx Plc to investigate potential drugs to treat cancer. ValiRx Plc is a life sciences company focused on early-stage cancer therapies and women’s health.

Under the initial agreement, ValiRx conducted a series of experiments and validations of UB’s technology over a twelve-month period. A number of therapeutic candidates were evaluated, selecting the four best molecules for synthesis and in vitro testing.

The in vitro studies conducted by ValiRx tested the activity of the selected molecules against pancreatic cancer, uterine sarcoma and ovarian cancer cells. Three of the four selected molecules demonstrated good activity, and one of them was selected for further in vivo studies. The in vivo studies, so far, have shown no adverse toxicity, but have failed to achieve the desired level of antitumor activity, leading to the conclusion that more research is needed around this molecular series.

The UB has an active research group working in this area that received a Proof of Concept 2021 state grant from the Ministry of Science and Innovation to continue research on this molecular series and its antitumor capacity. ValiRx has extended the initial evaluation agreement to continue working with the University’s research team and reach a better understanding of the biological activity of this series of compounds. The research group has also obtained state support to study other molecules.

The extension of the collaboration agreement with the UB will include: the evaluation of these new molecules; the continued evaluation of the original molecules; access to the new data generated thanks to the grants awarded; and the consideration of all the series of compounds that this research group may generate for this target for a period of four years (extendable).

Dr. Suzy Dilly, CEO of ValiRx, has assessed the agreement reached as follows: “We are pleased to have been able to provide a letter of corporate support for the University of Barcelona grant application, and look forward to reviewing the additional data generated by the team. The ability of this group to generate drug candidates for evaluation is truly impressive, and we are very pleased to have been able to extend this agreement, as it allows us to evaluate new molecules efficiently for further development once they emerge as suitable candidates.”

Dr. Neus Agell Jané, principal investigator of the research group and professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the UB, highlighted the following: “We appreciate the work done by ValiRx so far, and therefore being able to extend it to include some of our other projects gives us a great opportunity to advance our research in such an important area of science. It is extremely valuable the support ValiRx provides to our research and the complementary experiments and data they contribute, which undoubtedly greatly strengthens our projects.”

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