SRA737, which is a checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) inhibitor, was originally discovered by Sareum before Sierra licensed it back in 2016.
Chk1 controls a cancer cell's response to DNA damage, which could be caused by the disease itself or intentionally caused by chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Sierra is currently using SRA737 in in two early-stage ovarian cancer studies: one as a monotherapy and another in combination with low-dose gemcitabine – one of the most commonly-prescribed chemotherapies.
Preliminary data from these trials are expected within the next few months.
Last week, Sierra published pre-clinical data which showed that SRA7737 had a “dramatic enhancement” in anti-tumour activity in a lung cancer model when combined with immunotherapy and low dose gemcitabine.
“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,” said Mitchell.
“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.”
TYK2/JAK1 programme also progressing nicely
Away from SRA737, Sareum has invested a lot of time in its TYK2/JAK1 programme.
It has recently selected two molecules – one targeting autoimmune diseases and theother targeting certain types of leukaemia, lymphoma and solid tumours – for preclinical development.
Mitchell added: “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.”
£1.5mln cash in the bank
For the six months ended 31 December, Sareum made a loss of £764,000 (H1 17: £722,000).
After raising £850,000 back in November, the company finished the period with £1.54mln of cash in the bank (H1 17: £2.17mln).
Sareum shares fell 6.5% to 0.72p in early deals on Monday.