Sareum Holdings plc (AIM: SAR), the specialist cancer drug discovery and development business, announces its half-yearly results for the six months ended 31 December 2018 and provides an update of significant post-period events.

Operational highlights

  • Sierra Oncology (“Sierra”), the licence holder of SRA737, continues to advance and refine its clinical development programmes in patients with late-stage cancer. SRA737 is a small molecule Chk1 inhibitor discovered by Sareum and Cancer Research UK/Institute of Cancer Research. In the period:
    –   Phase 1/2 monotherapy trial in genetically defined patients was expanded and prioritised for high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) – Phase 2 cohort expansion underway
    –   The prioritisation for HGSOC patients was based on emerging clinical data providing validation for Chk1 inhibition in this indication, and particularly in patients with CCNE1-driven disease. Further supportive preclinical data was also presented at the 30th EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium in November
    –   Phase 1/2 study of SRA737 in combination with low-dose gemcitabine (LDG) was also prioritised for HGSOC – Phase 2 cohort expansion underway
    –   Promising preclinical data highlighting the synergy and combination potential of SRA737 and an immune checkpoint inhibitor in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) was presented at the AACR Conference on Tumour Immunology in November
  • Sareum initiated formal preclinical development with two distinct molecules selected from its proprietary TYK2/JAK1 programme. Both molecules demonstrate high selectivity for TYK2 and JAK1 kinases (particularly over related JAK2 and JAK3), compelling activity in relevant disease models, the potential for once-daily oral dosing and a good early safety profile
    –  SDC-1801 targeting autoimmune diseases
    –  SDC-1802 targeting certain types of leukaemia, lymphoma and solid tumours
  • Board of Directors strengthened with appointments of Dr Michael Owen and Clive Birch as Non-Executive Directors, bringing significant experience in the development of innovative biopharmaceutical products and in financial management and corporate governance

Post-period end

  • In January 2019, Sierra provided an update on its preclinical development programme with SRA737, highlighting the therapeutic benefits of combining Chk1 and PARP inhibitors in tumours that have become resistant to PARPi drugs at the DNA Damage Response Therapeutics conference
  • In February 2019, Sierra announced that data demonstrating the dramatically enhanced anti-tumour effect of combining anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy with SRA737 + LDG in a preclinical model of small cell lung cancer had been selected as a late-breaking abstract for oral presentation at the forthcoming Amercian Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting

Financial highlights

  • In November, Sareum raised £850,000 before expenses through a placement of 130,769,231 new ordinary shares at 0.65p per share to progress its drug development programmes as well as for working capital purposes
  • Loss on ordinary activities (after taxation) of £764,000 (2017: loss of £722,000)
  • Cash at bank as at 31 December 2018 was £1,542,000 (2017: £2,165,000)

Dr Tim Mitchell, CEO of Sareum Holdings plc, said: “We are very pleased with the progress that Sierra has made advancing its clinical programmes with SRA737 in recent months and we look forward to seeing preliminary data from these trials, expected in the first half of 2019. We are also encouraged by the preclinical work that Sierra and co-workers are conducting to support Chk1 inhibition by SRA737 as an attractive mechanism in combination with other leading cancer drug classes, including immuno-oncology drugs and PARP inhibitors.

“With regard to our proprietary programmes, the selection of SDC-1801 and SDC-1802 as preclinical candidates were important achievements and both are now advancing through preclinical programmes with a view to entering clinical trials in 2020. We believe that these compounds have excellent qualities and target a mechanism that is gaining credibility and generating growing interest in the pharmaceutical industry. Advancing these two programmes as quickly and as rigorously as possible is the focus of all our current resources and we are convinced that they offer the potential to generate significant value for shareholders.”

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