Alliance for Astellas and Cancer Research UK

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Astellas and Cancer Research UK have entered an alliance in a bid to seek new drugs for various cancers.

Tokyo-based company Astellas has teamed up with Cancer Research UK to explore new treatments for cancer as part of the company’s wider plans to establish links with research organisations internationally.

The duo will spend their first two years searching for new drug targets for pancreatic cancer, hoping to develop treatments that can block the autophagy pathways in patients with the disease.

Other forms of cancer will also be explored in due course, with Astellas retaining the rights to develop any potential treatments.

Dr Kenji Yasukawa, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Astellas, said: “The aim is to establish links with overseas researchers who have ideas that possess a high level of novelty and creativity.”

Despite being based in Japan, Astellas has offices all over the world and a global staff of 18,000.