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Sareum Holdings hails early-stage efficacy data for cancer drug

The latest update was provided at a America's largest and most prestigious cancer conference
cancer cell
Most eye-catching among the headlines was the impact SRA737 had in harness with a common chemotherapy called gemcitabine

Sareum Holdings PLC (LON:SAR) chief executive Tim Mitchell said he was “extremely encouraged” by preliminary efficacy data released over the weekend on a drug his company helped to develop.

Most eye-catching among the headlines was the impact SRA737 had in harness with a common chemotherapy called gemcitabine in patients with anogenital cancer, where the response rate was 30%.

The latest data was taken from a phase I/II clinical trial carried out by Vancouver-based Sierra Oncology, which licensed the drug candidate in a deal worth up to US$328.5mln plus royalties.

The update, provided at American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), in Chicago, also revealed that anti-cancer activity was “demonstrated across multiple indications and genetic profiles”.

“The results demonstrate the exciting potential of SRA737 in patients whose cancer type and genetic profile may confer and enhance sensitivity to this novel drug candidate, and open pathways for its advancement into the next stages of development towards registration,” said Sareum CEO Mitchell.

The shares rose 11% to 0.66p.     

Webcast feedback

Analyst Derren Nathan, of broker Hybridan, provided some interesting additional detail from the Sierra webcast earlier. He said the although strongest response came from people suffering anogentital cancers, there were “signals across multiple indications”.

Indeed, of the 139 patients assessed, 41 had the best response of “stable disease”, which means the cancer is neither decreasing nor increasing in extent or severity. Durable stable disease for a duration of four months or more was recorded in 32 people.

Nathan said images were shown on the webcast of two metastatic cancer sufferers. One, where the disease had migrated to the liver, saw the tumour size reduce by 41% after 11 cycles of the treatment.

In the other, where the disease had spread to the lung, a 26% response was observed and the lung, which had previously partially collapsed, was restored its normal function.

“To achieve these results in effectively first in man studies is really quite impressive particularly in difficult to treat patients and in the light of certain delays of treatment beginning,” Nathan said in a note.

“With further trial design improvements and, improvements in patient selection one might expect stronger signals.”

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