Sareum Holdings PLC (LON:SAR) has said it is advancing initial discussions with potential licensees for its pre-clinical tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) / Janus kinase 1 (JAK1) inhibitor immunotherapies for autoimmune diseases and cancer.
The progress report was provided in the company’s latest trading statement, which also provided updates on the two treatments that have commercial backing.
Investors were told that investigational new drug-enabling work would be completed for at least one of its TYK2/JAK1 candidates by the end of the calendar year. A decision on an initial target will be made in the second half and from there a “robust” pre-clinical data package will be prepared to support “ongoing partnering activities”.
The company added thart it will “continue and advance initial discussions with potential partners to secure commercial licences for its assets when they reach late preclinical or early clinical stages”.
Showing early promise are SDC-1801, targeting autoimmune diseases, and SDC-1802, which is being developed to treat cancer.
The drug developer recently raised just over £1mln, which together with existing cash and an R&D credit, means it had, as of June 30, 2020, £1.8mln to fund its work on the two drug candidates.
Chief executive Tim Mitchell commented: “The past year has seen Sareum advance the preclinical development of our proprietary dual TYK2/JAK1 inhibitor programmes, with the goal of completing preclinical development of at least one candidate by the end of 2020.
“We are particularly pleased to have raised additional funding during the period, which will be deployed to advance these programmes towards clinical development and build a robust data package to support our ongoing partnering activities for these exciting and differentiated assets.”
In the same announcement, Sareum said it expects to hear in October the response to a grant request to fund work on TYK2/JAK1 inhibitors to treat coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.
Having licensed its FLT3+Aurora inhibitor programme (targeting blood-borne cancer) to a China-based specialty pharma company in March, Sareum is eligible for a success-based £900,000 milestone payment in the first quarter of next year.
Development of its lead out-licensed product is SRA737, a selective Chk1 inhibitor, was taken on by Sierra Oncology, and it showed early clinical promise.
In a filing earlier this month, Sierra said it was “exploring options to support the continued development of SRA737”, Sareum said.
“We continue to monitor Sierra’s activities as it explores options to fund the future development of SRA737 and we will provide further updates on this and other programmes when appropriate,” added CEO Mitchell.