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Sareum raises £1m to advance preclinical studies and targets Covid-19 cytokine storm

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Sareum Holdings has raised just over £1million and will seek further grant funding to explore the potential of its small molecule therapeutics in fighting Covid-19.

The Pampisford-based specialist drug development company placed 119.8 million shares at 0.60 pence each, raising £718,500, and a further 50.6 million shares at 0.6p on PrimaryBid, raising £303,722.

Tim Mitchell, Sareum. Picture: Tim Smith (36070893)
Tim Mitchell, Sareum. Picture: Tim Smith (36070893)

The company is focused on small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases, and these could also prove of use in tackling the cytokine storm immune system overreaction seen in patients with the novel coronavirus.

CEO Dr Tim Mitchell said: “We believe that our TYK2/JAK1 inhibitor candidates – SDC-1801 and SDC-1802 – represent exciting prospects.

“The way they act continues to be a focus for the broader industry interested in treating autoimmune diseases, cancer and more recently in addressing the severe respiratory symptoms associated with advanced Covid-19.

“These new funds will be used to advance their preclinical studies targeting completion in at least one indication late this year, pending successful progress.

“In addition, we will be making applications for grant funding to investigate their potential in Covid-19. Our aim is to generate an attractive data package for both compounds that will support our dialogue with potential partners.

“We thank our new and existing shareholders for their support and look forward to providing further updates as appropriate.”

Sareum said it is targeting completion of preclinical development for each molecule this year.

The company said it had “produced compelling cellular and in-vivo data in models of autoimmune disease to demonstrate the beneficial effects of SDC-1801 in modulating the key cytokines involved in the cytokine storm phase of Covid-19”.

Sareum also has a preclinical FLT3+Aurora inhibitor programme targeting haematological cancers, which is licensed to a China-based specialty pharma company.

And it has an economic interest in SRA737, a clinical-stage oral, selective checkpoint kinase 1 inhibitor that targets cancer cell replication and DNA damage repair mechanisms.

Discovered and initially developed by scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research in collaboration with Sareum, preliminary data has indicated that SRA737 may have broad application in combination with other oncology and immune-oncology drugs in genetically-defined patients.

It was licensed by CRT Pioneer Fund to Sierra Oncology, which is seeking to on-license SRA737 to a third party for further development.

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