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Major boosts to Northern Ireland’s Life & Health Sciences sector

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Major boosts to Northern Ireland’s Life & Health Sciences sector

Major boosts to Northern Ireland’s Life & Health Sciences sector
November 10
12:07 2022
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Drug development company, CV6 Therapeutics, is investing almost £8 million in first-stage clinical trials and further scientific development work on its first anti-cancer drug CV6-168. CV6 is dedicated to improving the lives of patients with cancer and inflammatory diseases through the development of innovative therapeutics. It relocated to Northern Ireland from the USA in 2015, attracted by the research capabilities here and the opportunity to collaborate with Queen’s University Belfast (Queen’s).

Dr Robert Ladner, CEO of CV6 said: “CV6-168 has the potential to be a widely impactful oncology product, significantly improving outcomes for patients in multiple cancer types. Moving into the first-in-human Phase 1a clinical trial is therefore an important milestone for us.

“Pre-clinical studies show that CV6-168 works alongside standard cancer therapies to activate a unique mechanism of action that induces cancer cell DNA damage and cell death while simultaneously activating the immune system to further enhance its anticancer effect.

“This Phase 1a trial will focus on safety, measuring how the drug is absorbed by the body, identifying optimal dosing levels and gathering initial indications of anti-cancer efficacy.

“We will be carrying out further scientific research with Queen’s and initiating the clinical trial with sites in the UK, including the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust through the Belfast Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, with local patients potentially benefiting from the trial.”

“Raising funding for research like this is challenging. We are grateful for the continued support of Invest NI and our investors.”

Invest NI has offered support of £3 million towards the project through a Grant for Research & Development. CV6 has also raised £5 million of investment from investors including Qubis, Techstart and Clarendon.

Invest NI’s R&D support is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014–2020.

Mel Chittock, Interim CEO, Invest Northern Ireland, said: “We supported the initial phase of CV6’s research, carried out by CV6 at Queen’s, to develop this new cancer drug. The clinical trials stage is a significant step for the company and the project. This is one of the first Northern Ireland developed drugs to be trialled here and will significantly boost the regions credibility and visibility in cancer drug development.

“This is a large scale strategic and highly innovative R&D investment. Funding a project of this calibre, scale and nature allows Northern Ireland to further develop its life sciences ecosystem to continue to attract leading science, technology and entrepreneurs to Northern Ireland.

“The Life & Health Sciences sector is a priority sector in the Department for Economy’s 10X economy vision. The knowledge gained from research such as this, combined with collaboration with our universities, has the potential to stimulate innovation spill-overs and attract licencing deals from major pharmaceutical companies.”

CV6 is based at the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research and employs six staff. To support this next stage of drug development it will be creating four new roles. These are high quality jobs involved in leading edge cancer research.

Queen’s University Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer said: “Thanks to collaboration with key players across the university, health and business sectors, we are delighted that the drug initially developed by CV6 at Queen’s is now entering clinical trials stage, with the potential to improve treatments for a number of cancers.

“It is through integrating the activities of clinicians, life scientists and data scientists with industry partners to identify and develop new diagnostic tests, treatments, and health related technologies, that we are able to make a huge impact to improve cancer treatment and more. This comes at an exciting time when we’ve recently welcomed investment through the Belfast Region City Deal to launch to deliver, in partnership with Belfast Trust, the Institute for Research Excellence in Advanced Clinical Healthcare (iREACH), which will further enhance our ability to facilitate world-class clinical research to deliver better treatments to improve people’s health.”


Pictured (L-R): Professor Ian Greer, Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University Belfast; Dr. Robert Ladner, CEO, CV6; and Mel Chittock, Interim CEO, Invest Northern Ireland.

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