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Cancer Research UK Signs Multi-Project Collaboration With UCB To Advance Oncology Antibody Candidates

Brussels (Belgium), and London (UK) 9 March 2023 - Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest charitable funder of cancer research, and UCB (EURONEXT BRUSSELS: UCB), a global biopharmaceutical company, today announced a clinical development collaboration to advance two of UCB’s investigational oncology antibody candidates through clinical trials.

The collaboration focuses on the development of two investigational antibody candidates, UCB6114 and UCB4594 by bringing together the oncology-focused translational research and clinical development capabilities of Cancer Research UK, and UCB’s renowned antibody discovery expertise. If successful in clinical trials the investigational candidates may have the potential to offer cancer patients access to new targeted treatment options. UCB6114 is a potential first-in-class antibody targeting gremlin-1, a glycoprotein secreted by the tumour stroma1*. UCB4594 is an antibody targeting the immune checkpoint, human leukocyte antigen G, also known as HLA-G. 

Under the terms of the collaboration, Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development will appoint the chief clinical and scientific investigators, and will lead the design, preparation, sponsorship and delivery of Phase 1/2 clinical trials for both UCB antibody candidates.  UCB will continue to manufacture both investigational antibody candidates, complete the ongoing UCB6114 clinical study (ONC001) and perform other supporting activities. UCB will retain exclusive rights to further develop and commercialise both assets and will receive a licence to the results of the clinical trials from Cancer Research UK in return for undisclosed success-based milestone and royalty payments.

Dr Nigel Blackburn, Director Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development, said: 

“As funders of much of the world-class cancer research and innovation happening in the UK, we are able to offer our unparalleled access to some of the best oncology expertise and clinical development capabilities to our commercial partners.”

“We are delighted to be collaborating with UCB to progress not one, but two novel oncology antibodies and here at the Centre for Drug Development we are looking forward to progressing these programmes through early clinical development.”

Dhaval Patel, chief scientific officer of UCB, said:

“UCB’s strong research productivity together with our antibody expertise and desire to better understand and target the drivers of disease, has resulted in two novel and potentially disruptive candidates in oncology.”  

“As these candidates move forward, we are happy to enter this collaboration with Cancer Research UK where they will bring world leading oncology expertise and access to a large network of clinical oncologists who can enable the clinical trials.”

Financial details of the partnership were not disclosed.

Notes to editor: 

* The tumour stroma is composed of extracellular matrix and specialized connective tissue cells, including fibroblasts and mesenchymal stromal cells2.


  1. Sarker D, Banerji U, Blagden SP, et al. A multi-modular phase I/II study of UCB6114, a first-in-class, fully human IgG4P anti-Gremlin-1 monoclonal antibody, as monotherapy and in combination with mFOLFOX6 or trifluridine/tipiracil, for patients with advanced gastrointestinal (GI) tumors. J Clin Oncol. 2022;40(4):Suppl.TPS221.
  2. Valkenburg KC, de Groot AE, Pienta KJ. Targeting the tumour stroma to improve cancer therapy. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2018;15:366-381.

For media enquiries contact 

Ellie Bennett in the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 5370 or, out of hours, on 07884 466 868.

Antje Witte Investor Relations (UCB) on +32.2.559.94.14 or email antje.witte@ucb.com 

Laurent Schots, Corporate Communications (UCB) on +32.2.559.92.64 or email laurent.schots@ucb.com

Scott Fleming, R&D Communications (UCB) on +447702777378 or email scott.fleming@ucb.com

About UCB
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With approximately 8 700 people in approximately 40 countries, the company generated revenue of € 5.5 billion in 2022. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB). 

About Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development   

Cancer Research UK has an impressive record of developing novel treatments for cancer. The Cancer Research UK Centre for Drug Development has been pioneering the development of new cancer treatments for 25 years, taking over 140 potential new anti-cancer agents into clinical trials in patients. It currently has a portfolio of 21 new anti-cancer agents in preclinical development, Phase I or early Phase II clinical trials. Six of these new agents have made it to market including temozolomide for brain cancer, abiraterone for prostate cancer and rucaparib for ovarian cancer. Two other drugs are in late development Phase III trials. 

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