MD Anderson and Astex Pharmaceuticals announce strategic collaboration to accelerate clinical evaluation of therapies for patients with leukemia

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., based in Tokyo, Japan, today announce a  strategic collaboration agreement aimed at accelerating the clinical evaluation of Astex’s pipeline of products for patients with certain types of leukemia, including myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).  The collaboration will combine MD Anderson’s clinical trials infrastructure and expertise with Astex’s clinical pipeline products.

The initial focus will be on evaluating Astex’s oral decitabine and cedazuridine hypomethylating agent (INQOVI®) in combinations with other therapies. INQOVI recently was approved by the US FDA and by Health Canada for the treatment of intermediate- and high-risk MDS and CMML.

MD Anderson is dedicated to providing the best treatment options to our patients, and there is tremendous interest in evaluating how a new generation of oral targeted therapies might work in combination to treat those with leukemia,” said Guillermo Garcia-Manero, M.D., professor of Leukemia at MD Anderson. “This collaboration with Astex will allow us to expand those studies with the ultimate goal of providing patients with oral drug combinations that have the potential of improving clinical outcomes.”

Under the collaboration agreement, MD Anderson and Astex will design new clinical studies to be conducted at MD Anderson. Astex will provide funding, test compounds and other support. The collaboration will be overseen by a joint steering committee.

MD Anderson has been a collaborator with Astex on multiple clinical studies for our pipeline products,” said Mohammad Azab, president & chief medical officer of Astex. “We are delighted to be entering into this new collaboration and look forward to continuing to advance this important area of clinical research.”