Skip to main content
Home » Oncology » Think like cancer to beat cancer: the race to develop better medicines

Dr Rajan Jethwa

CEO & Founder, Ellipses Pharma

A fresh approach to cancer drug development can help minimise the time it takes to advance therapies through clinical trials and get them to patients.

To beat cancer, drug developers need to “think like cancer.” That is the view of Dr Rajan Jethwa, chief executive and founder of Ellipses Pharma, who adds: “We need to constantly evolve, continually multiply and rapidly accelerate.” This, he believes, is the quickest way to get safe and effective drugs to patients when and where they need them.

Central to that is the blinded review process it has introduced with its Scientific Affairs Group — one of the largest and most diverse assembled in the oncology sector. This global network of more than 200 renowned cancer experts covers a range of cancer specialities and members are focused on identifying the science with the clearest path toward translation into clinical applications. Between 50 – 70 experts can be involved in real time on a bespoke digital platform assessing the options for a particular potential treatment, thereby enhancing the prospect of picking a treatment with the best chance of successfully navigating the scientific and clinical path to patients.

Accelerating process to clinical trials

For a drug development company, that means a focus on accelerating the development of cancer medicines and treatments through innovative models. Pivotal to that is a combination of unbiased vetting to de-risk initial asset or drug candidate selection, with an uninterrupted funding flow to minimise the time it takes to advance products through clinical trials and reach patients.

Expanding on this approach adopted by the UK-based drug firm, its chairman and founder, Professor, Sir Chris Evans, says: “We are committed to maximising the breakthrough potential of the nascent treatments we take on, streamline their path through the clinic and shorten the time for them to have an impact on patients. Better, faster trials will mean more drugs for patients and more lives saved.”

Unique drug development proposition

With an expanding pipeline of potential new medicines, the company is rapidly advancing its disruptive drug development proposition.

Once Ellipses adopts a potential medicine, the clinical and business development programmes are jointly built around clinical trials focused on patient needs and the commercial requirements for taking the drug forward.

We seek out scientific discoveries with the best chances of success, regardless of tumour type, development stage, molecular target or therapeutic modality.

Uninterrupted clinical trials

An uninterrupted funding model allows the company to allocate capital to each new potential drug as soon as it is needed.

Coupled with agile patient recruitment strategies, they can design novel and effective clinical trials. Dr Jethwa adds: “We have built a streamlined drug development engine that scales with asset acquisitions, ensuring we are always ready to run high-quality trials at the right time.

“By decoupling our fundraising from the asset development cycle, we can provide uninterrupted financial support for each development programme as required by individual programme needs and timelines.”

Developing medicines for any cancer type

Their drug development model centres on having a robust and diverse pipeline — from late preclinical to clinical stage and from solid tumours to blood cancers. It addresses more than a dozen different types of cancers, including acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), breast cancer, lung cancer, thyroid cancer and others.

Medicines in development stages range from preclinical/pre-investigational new drug (IND) to phase 2 clinical studies and encompass several therapeutic modalities, including small molecules, receptor modulators, fusion proteins and even nanoparticle drug conjugates. The pipeline also contains additional exploratory programmes in several bispecific, bifunctional and monoclonal antibodies to treat a range of tumours.

Wider accessibility to cancer therapies

Professor Evans adds: “Our mission is to make the very best drugs and therapies available — at unprecedented speed, to patients worldwide. To achieve this goal, we seek out scientific discoveries with the best chances of success, regardless of tumour type, development stage, molecular target or therapeutic modality.”

“Traditional drug development models have failed to keep pace with the speed and scale of cancer, so we decided to adopt a bold and ambitious approach that limits operational risk and maximises outcomes for patients,” says Dr Jethwa.

Next article