SDC-1801 has shown “compelling activity” in disease models of psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, while AIM-listed Sareum also noted the potential for once-daily oral dosing and a good early safety profile.
Closely related molecules have also shown “good activity” in models of inflammatory bowel disease and lupus.
“These attributes strongly support the progression of SDC-1801 into preclinical development and, pending satisfactory progress, advancement into human clinical trials, which could begin in 2020,” the statement said.
SDC-1801 works by targeting the TYK2 and JAK1 enzymes which are known to have roles in pro-inflammatory responses in autoimmune diseases and tumour cell proliferation in certain cancers.
A second, ‘back-up’ candidate is expected to be nominated in the near future.
“With SDC-1801, we believe we are entering this space with a strong candidate that exhibits potentially best-in-class features,” said chief executive Tim Mitchell.
“We intend to focus our resources on advancing SDC-1801 through preclinical development and into clinical trials over the next 18 months. At the same time, we will continue our discussions with potential licence partners for this exciting drug candidate.”