News & Information | START In The News

January 5th, 2010
San Antonio Business Journal

Merck, AstraZeneca pick START to test anticancer compound

The two drugs are being developed by Merck & Co. Inc. and AstraZeneca. The two pharmaceutical companies announced in June 2009 that they would collaborate on this project.

The START Center for Cancer Care in San Antonio was chosen as the first phase 1 center to test the drug combination. START specializes in conducting Phase 1 clinical trials for oncology drugs.

Preclinical evidence showed that the two compounds (MK-2206 and AZD6244) could enhance their anticancer properties.

The agreement between Merck and AstraZeneca is significant, say START officials, because it involves two major pharmaceutical companies collaborating at an early stage of drug development.

Usually, combinations of anticancer agents would only be studied in clinical trials when one component is at a late stage of development or when one compound has already received marketing approval, officials say.

“This one-of-a-kind study, with two separate pharmaceutical companies sharing their novel agents for this one clinical trial performed at START, represents an exciting step forward for the betterment of cancer research, and most of all, patient care,” says Anthony Tolcher, clinical director of START and principal investigator for this trial.



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