Sareum Holdings PLC (LON:SAR), the small molecule therapeutics specialist, has said it expects to hear this month whether it will receive grant funding for preliminary studies of a coronavirus (COVID-19) anti-inflammatory.
An application has been submitted to the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to fund preliminary laboratory studies into whether TYK2/JAK1 inhibitors can alleviate the "cytokine storm" and other potentially fatal respiratory symptoms of COVID-19.
If the grant application is successful, initial studies will begin shortly thereafter said Sareum in its statement of results for the year to end June.
Sareum said it had also made a breakthrough with autoimmune treatment SDC-1801 through a new formulation that will enable a higher, therapeutic dose.
Further toxicology studies need to be carried out before human trials start but it said tolerability in rodents had been excellent and it expects to apply to start a human trial early next year.
Elsewhere, Sareum noted that it has also completed formulation work for oral dosing of cancer immunotherapy candidate SDC-1802 during the full-year.
On its licensed programmes, Sareum highlighted recent reports that Sierra Oncology has completed Phase 1/2 trials of SRA737 as a monotherapy and in combination with low dose gemcitabine.
Sareum also signed a deal for its FLT3+Aurora inhibitor programme targeting blood cancers with a China-based speciality pharma company during the period and success-dependent milestone payment is possible by January 2021 under this agreement.
In the statement, Dr Tim Mitchell, the group's chief executive, said: "Sareum has continued to make good progress with the preclinical development of our proprietary dual TYK2/JAK1 inhibitor programmes.
"Most recently, we have overcome an important formulation challenge with SDC-1801, which will now be advanced into the toxicology studies needed to complete our preparations for clinical trials."
He added: "Regarding SRA737, we continue to monitor Sierra Oncology's activities as it explores options to fund the future development of this novel compound. We were pleased to note that as of 25 September 2020, the website www.clinicaltrials.gov is reporting that the Phase 1/2 trials of SRA737 as a monotherapy and in combination with low dose gemcitabine in solid cancers are complete.
“We look forward to the results of these completed trials being disclosed. We will provide further updates on this and other programmes when appropriate."
Sareum's losses for the year to end June were £0.99m (2019: loss of £1.45mln) with cash in the bank of £1.80mln at the end of the period.