Last week, Canthera Discovery won the Cooperative Research Australia (CRA) Award for Research Commercialisation at its Innovation Awards.

Peter Mac is one of the founding members of the oncology-focused small molecule drug discovery and early development biotechnology group.

Cancer Therapeutics Cooperative Research Centre (now Canthera Discovery), was one of the great success stories of the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) program.

It secured deals for ground-breaking cancer therapies with global pharma giants, to a value of close to $1.4 billion.

Translating Australian research discoveries into new cancer treatments ready for clinical development, Cancer Therapeutics CRC brought together leading medical research institutes, universities and biotechnology companies.

This funding, research, and commercial work is now being carried forward by Canthera Discovery, which is a global leader in developing new drugs with clinical potential for both cancer and non-cancer disorders.

“We want to see our innovations make the often-arduous journey from laboratory bench to the pharmacy shelf to meet unmet medical needs, not just for Australians but people all over the world,” Canthera’s Chief Scientific Officer Brendon Monahan said.

Peter Mac’s Professor Mark Dawson and Dr Laura McPherson worked with Cancer Therapeutics CRC on an international research project that identified a new way to target acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) at its source.

One Cancer Therapeutics CRC program is now in phase one clinical trials, assessing the potential to treat patients with advanced metastatic breast, prostate or lung cancer.

In October 2020, the first human trials started for the drug AMP945. Developed by Cancer Therapeutics CRC, this drug has the potential to treat pancreatic cancer.

“We are delighted that Canthera has won this award. Peter Mac is a proud founding member of the CTx CRC, and are delighted to have played a significant role in the development of AMP945,” said Ricky Johnstone, Executive Director of Cancer Research at Peter Mac.

“Canthera represents the very best in discovery-based research in Australia, integrating multiple academic and commercial partners to achieve outcomes that we believe will benefit cancer patients across the globe.”

Canthera’s other research partners are the Children’s Cancer Institute, CSIRO, Griffith University, Monash University, and WEHI.

These research partners are joined by industry partners and health organisations including Cancer Council of Victoria, Cancer Trials Australia, Clinical Genomics, Medicines Development for Global Health Limited, National Cancer Centre Singapore, Oncology One, Royal Melbourne Hospital, SYNthesis Research, Syneos Health and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.