• The collaboration will employ precision and digital medicine techniques that can develop cancer drugs in a shorter time frame.
  • Team aims to meet the needs of Asian cancer patients through the safe and rational development of targeted cancer drug combinations.

Singapore, 9th October 2018 

The National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) and AUM Biosciences, a Singapore headquartered biotechnology company, will be collaborating on conducting joint research to develop new potential treatments to battle cancer. 

By sharing their expertise and resources, the team believes that their efforts will shorten the time that it would normally take to test and develop new drugs, as well as to introduce safe and effective drug combinations. 

The collaboration will combine NCCS’ highly-regarded PDX laboratory model capabilities and knowledge on drug discovery, with AUM Biosciences’ expertise in clinical drug development. 

PDX, which stands for Patient Derived Xenograft, is the grafting of patients’ tumours onto mice, thereby creating valuable human cancer or PDX models. Different drugs can be tested in these PDX models to evaluate their ability to inhibit tumour growth. Success in these models helps in selecting the suitable drug candidates to put forward for testing in actual patients. It can also help guide the drug development process, including developing a better understanding of how cancers respond to treatment. 

Professor Huynh The Hung, Principal Investigator of the Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology at NCCS’ Division of Cellular & Molecular Research, has extensive experience in using xenografts to identify new therapies for various cancers. His laboratory has one of the largest collections of Asian-specific PDX models in Asia. The PDX models have been extensively used to evaluate novel drugs and develop novel combination therapies for various cancers such as liver, gastric and ovarian cancers. 

In explaining the collaboration, Professor Huynh said, “We believe that AUM Biosciences is a good fit for us to work together. The size of their operations will give us the added advantage of getting things done at a faster pace with fewer red tapes, compared with the big drug companies.” 

“More importantly, they have proven expertise and capabilities for designing and delivering smart drug development, and to do it very quickly once we have tested the drug.  Another plus point is that they are based in Singapore, which makes the collaboration much easier.”

Professor Huynh added that cancer is a disease that is ethnicity dependent. With NCCS’ niche in Asian-specific diseases, and AUM’s focus on Asia-centric cancer treatments, this collaboration between the two Singapore parties is beneficial as it will be relevant to patients in Singapore and the region. 

The process requires a new drug in development to be tried in different PDX (cancer) models. The results will help guide cancer patient selection with stratification according to their genetic make-up. The PDX model testing is to assess the tumour’s reaction when it is exposed to the drugs before any patients are actually asked to use it.

Scientists will then study the response by using different dosages and combinations, relying on biomarkers to identify the right patients for the right drug. 

“Once we are successful in developing a new drug, we will go through the required approvals before making it available in the clinics. When we achieve this, it will put Singapore on the world map for cancer treatment,” said Prof Huynh. 

“Patients can look forward to accessing more effective drugs for their cancer in a shorter time frame. Application of precision medicine technology to cancer drug development in USA can reduce the time from the first-in-human study to marketing approval from an average of 8.5 years to 5 years. Similarly, AUM Biosciences will bring these shorter timelines to drug development to Asia. Such rapid development allows us to address an unmet medical need faster and more efficiently,” said Dr. Harish Dave, Co-Founder and CMO, AUM Biosciences. 

About National Cancer Centre Singapore
National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) provides a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to cancer treatment and patient care. We treat almost 70 per cent of the public sector oncology cases, and they are benefiting from the sub-specialisation of our clinical oncologists.  NCCS is also accredited by the US-based Joint Commission International for its quality patient care and safety. To deliver among the best in cancer treatment and care, our clinicians work closely with our scientists who conduct robust cutting-edge clinical and translational research programmes which are internationally recognised.  NCCS will also launch its Proton Beam Therapy programme at its new centre. NCCS strives to be a global leading cancer centre, and shares its expertise and knowledge by offering training to local and overseas medical professionals. www.nccs.com.sg

About AUM Biosciences
AUM Biosciences is an oncology-focused biotechnology company that aims to accelerate the development of innovative, affordable cancer medicines for patients in Asia and around the world. AUM Biosciences focuses on early-stage development of innovative medicines for the treatment of Asian-prevalent cancers.

AUM Biosciences will have a specific focus on indications such as hepatocellular carcinoma, head and neck cancer, gastric cancer, cholangiocarcinoma, triple negative breast cancer, prostate and colorectal cancer. With a huge opportunity to identify targets for unmet medical needs, AUM Biosciences will partner and collaborate with leading research institutes, clinicians and pharmaceutical companies bringing new, affordable and effective therapies to patients in need. 
For more information, please visit www.aumbiosciences.com or email pr@aumbiosciences.com

For media queries and clarifications, please contact:

Ms Rachel Tan
Manager, Corporate Communications
Office: 6236 9535
Email: rachel.tan.c.h@nccs.com.sg

Ms Gillian Tan
Senior Executive, Corporate Communications
Office: 6236 9529
Email: gillian.tan@nccs.com.sg

Ms Meera Jethmal
Manager, Public Relations and Communications
Email: meeraj@aumbiosciences.com