$730 million Merck Sharp & Dohme cancer treatment license deal

A Monash research breakthrough lies at the heart of one of the largest preclinical licensing deals in Australia.

Under the terms of the $730 million license deal, MSD is researching, developing, trialling and commercialising new treatments for cancer and blood disorders.

The suite of drugs have been developed by the Cancer Therapeutics Cooperative Research Centre (CTx).

The drugs – which are inhibitors of protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) – have potential clinical applications in both cancer and non-cancer blood disorders.

The importance of PRMT5 was first discovered by Professor Stephen Jane, Head of the Monash Central Clinical School, who initiated the search for inhibitory drugs.

These drugs were further developed by CTx in collaboration with Professor Susan Charman, Director of the Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation within the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, with support from the Wellcome Trust.

In addition to applications for cancer, PRMT5 inhibitors switch on important genes in the development of blood, which could provide disease-modifying treatment options for patients with blood disorders like sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia.

This partnership exemplifies Monash Medicine Nursing and Health Science’s translational model- in which critical scientific breakthroughs become ground-breaking treatments and therapeutics.

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