Sitryx licenses intellectual property rights for inhibitors of a new target in immunometabolism from Cancer Research UK in exclusive worldwide agreement

Sitryx licenses intellectual property rights for inhibitors of a new target in immunometabolism from Cancer Research UK in exclusive worldwide agreement

Oxford, UK – 6 July 2021 – Sitryx (“the Company”), a biopharmaceutical company focused on regulating cell metabolism to develop disease-modifying therapeutics in immuno-inflammation and immuno-oncology, today announces that it has entered into an exclusive, worldwide agreement to license intellectual property (IP) rights from Cancer Research UK, the world’s leading cancer charity, for inhibitors of a promising new target to further complement the Sitryx portfolio. The IP was developed by the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute within its Drug Discovery Unit.

The new agreement builds on an existing Material Evaluation and Option Agreement between Sitryx and Cancer Research UK for licensed IP relating to small molecule inhibitors of a target kinase, which plays a critical role in a master regulatory metabolic pathway of emerging importance in immune cells and inflammatory processes. Through the regulation of cellular metabolism and downstream transcriptional activity, the kinase inhibitors produce a highly desirable anti-inflammatory cytokine profile with therapeutic potential in a range of inflammatory diseases. Building on the strength of the initial development by the Beatson Drug Discovery Unit and work carried out during the Material Evaluation phase, this agreement provides Sitryx with an opportunity to progress rapidly through the phases of drug discovery and add to its growing portfolio of novel therapeutics for immuno-inflammation.

Immunometabolism is a fast-emerging area of investigation into the role of metabolic pathways in immune cell function. Changes to these pathways have been shown to be pivotal in the development of several severe diseases, including a range of autoimmune conditions and cancers. Correcting immune cell function and/or inhibiting tumour cell growth through immunometabolic therapies have the potential to be key, complementary, and highly differentiated approaches to treating diseases.

Neil Weir, Chief Executive Officer of Sitryx, said: “Through our collaborative discussions with Cancer Research UK, we have identified a critical pathway in the area of immunometabolism. This new licensing agreement complements Sitryx's Immunometabolism platform designed to accelerate the identification of novel targets and discovery of new drug candidates that bring differentiated medicines to address unmet need in immuno-inflammatory conditions.”

Tony Hickson, Chief Business Officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “Our goal is to deliver new treatments to cancer patients by ensuring any promising discoveries in the lab are quickly developed and introduced to market. It’s fantastic to see our project at The Beatson Institute being moved forward by Sitryx, which could in the future extend the benefit of our innovative drug discovery work for people with cancer and other diseases.”

Owen Sansom, Director of the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute and Justin Bower & Heather McKinnon, Joint Heads of the Beatson Drug Discovery Unit, jointly added: “We are delighted that our Drug Discovery team has been able to deliver this highly competitive project, which has led to this important license agreement with Sitryx in the cell metabolism and inflammatory disease space. We are also extremely excited about the potential of this license agreement in delivering patient benefit."

Under the terms of the agreement, Cancer Research UK is eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestones and royalty payments on potential sales from immunometabolism targeted therapeutics developed by Sitryx, with such amounts being invested into Cancer Research UK’s life-saving research.


For more information about Sitryx please contact:

Consilium Strategic Communications
Mary-Jane Elliott, David Daley, Melissa Gardiner
+44 (0)20 3709 5700

Cancer Research UK
Eleanor Bennett
+44 20 3469 5370

About Sitryx
Sitryx is a biopharmaceutical company focused on regulating cell metabolism to develop disease-modifying therapeutics in immuno-inflammation and immuno-oncology. Sitryx’s proprietary science is led by a highly experienced management team and supported by world class academic founders. Sitryx was founded by six world-leading researchers in the field of immunology and metabolism: Houman Ashrafian, Luke O’Neill, Jonathan Powell, Jeff Rathmell, Michael Rosenblum and Paul Peter Tak. Together they have published more than 1,000 papers in the field, making multiple key breakthroughs in our understanding of how critical energetic status is to the behavior of immune cells and in the broader field of immunology. In 2018, Sitryx raised $30 million Series A funding from an international syndicate of specialist investors including SV Health Investors, Sofinnova Partners, Longwood Fund and GSK. In 2020, Sitryx formed an exclusive global licensing and research collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company. Lilly also became an investor in the Company. The Company has a pipeline of projects at multiple stages of drug discovery. Sitryx is headquartered in Oxford, UK. For more information, please visit

About Cancer Research UK’s Commercial Partnerships Team
Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. Cancer Research UK’s specialist Commercial Partnerships Team works closely with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. Cancer Research UK’s commercial activity operates through Cancer Research Technology Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK. It is the legal entity which pursues drug discovery research in themed alliance partnerships and delivers varied commercial partnering arrangements.

About Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute
The Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow, directed by Professor Owen Sansom, is one of Europe's leading cancer research centres, supporting cutting-edge work into the molecular mechanisms of cancer development. As well as core support from Cancer Research UK, the Institute also receives an additional third of its total income from external grants and industry collaborations. The Beatson has an excellent reputation for fundamental cancer research, including world-class metabolism studies and renowned in vivo modelling of tumour growth and metastasis. Its Drug Discovery Unit, headed by Justin Bower and Heather McKinnon, is central to its mission to apply cancer discovery for patient benefit.