Sareum Holdings PLC (LON:SAR) said it has inked a licensing deal with an unnamed Chinese specialty pharmaceutical company that will develop the UK firm's FLT3+Aurora kinases portfolio, including SAR-20293, a preclinical drug candidate for acute myeloid leukaemia and other blood-borne cancers.
The AIM-listed group will receive £50,000 upfront and a further £900,000 milestone payment related to oral bioavailability - the ability of the drug to reach the therapeutic area after being taken by mouth.
Sareum’s new partner is described as a vertically integrated group listed on the main market of the Shanghai Stock Exchange. It has been granted an exclusive worldwide licence to develop, manufacture and commercialise the Sareum discoveries.
“We believe the Licensee has the resources and expertise to further advance these molecules through the clinic to commercialisation in China,” Sareum chief executive, Dr Tim Mitchell said in a statement.
He added that the focus was now wholly on the firm’s pre-clinical TYK2/JAK1 inhibitors, small molecule discoveries for cancer and autoimmune diseases. Preparatory work is being made to advance candidates towards human trials.
In the meantime, the “programmes continue to attract interest from international pharmaceutical companies”, the firm said in a separate announcement covering its interim results.
In this update, Sareum said Sierra Oncology, its licensing partner for a potential cancer treatment called SRA737, is still seeking “non-dilutive strategic options” to take the drug to the next stage of development.
Dosing of patients in a phase I/II study using SRA737 as a single therapy was completed last October, while a separate, early-stage analysis of the drug in harness with a chemotherapy is expected to “complete shortly”.
In the six months ended December 31, Sareum posted a loss of £610,000, down from £760,000 a year earlier. As of that end date it had £1mln in the bank.