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First Singapore-made cancer drug enters clinical trials

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A PUBLICLY-FUNDED, locally-made cancer drug candidate has advanced into Phase 1 of clinical trials, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School (Duke-NUS) have announced.

A PUBLICLY-FUNDED, locally-made cancer drug candidate has advanced into Phase 1 of clinical trials, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School (Duke-NUS) have announced.

ETC-159, as it is known, will target a number of cancers, including colorectal, ovarian and pancreatic cancers. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Singapore, accounting for 30 per cent of deaths in 2013.

ETC-159 is a collaboration between A*STAR's Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC), Drug Discovery and Development (D3) unit and Duke-NUS.

The Phase I clinical trial will evaluate the safety and tolerability of ETC-159 in advanced solid tumours in as many as 58 patients. Trials are being carried out at the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) and the National University Hospital (NUH). They will also be launched in the US progressively.

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Prof Alex Matter, chief executive of ETC and D3, said: "We will continue to strengthen these capabilities and partnerships to continue developing a pipeline of promising drug candidates and advancing them into the clinic."

Prof David Virshup, inaugural director of the programme in cancer and stem cell biology at Duke-NUS, said: "This is a major milestone that was made possible by Singapore's ongoing investment in basic and translational biomedical research to address unmet medical needs. It is fitting that Singaporeans might be the first to benefit from this Singapore-developed drug."

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