Earlier this month, the AIM company went with SDC-1801 as a “potentially best-in-class” treatment for autoimmune diseases.
It has now chosen SDC-1802 which has shown “compelling efficacy” in blocking cancer cell proliferation in leukaemia disease models, while Sareum thinks it could also be used to treat certain kidney, colon, skin and pancreatic cancers.
The compound has the potential for once-daily oral dosing and a good early safety profile, Sareum added.
SDC-1802 works by targeting the TYK2 and JAK1 enzymes, which are known to have roles in promoting cancer growth.
Those enzymes are also involved in the pro-inflammatory responses in autoimmune diseases, which is why Sareum thinks SDC-1802 also has the potential to act as a backup molecule to SDC-1801.
Clinical trials in 2020
“We are very pleased to have formally selected lead candidates from our TYK2 inhibitor programme for both cancer and autoimmune diseases,” said chief executive Tim Mitchell.
“The candidates are distinct small molecules with attractive and highly competitive profiles for development in their respective indications.”
He added: “Both have produced exciting results in preclinical disease models and we believe present valuable opportunities for licensing and/or further development.
“Our focus is now to advance both candidates into clinical studies, which we anticipate beginning in 2020.”
Sareum shares were down 1.3% to 0.76p shortly after the opening bell on Wednesday.