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“Strong” 2016 leaves Sareum in good shape for growth

The past year has seen the company go from strength to strength, culminating in the licensing of its most advanced programme

cancer cells under a microscope
The Chk1 inhibitor cancer drug programme is the company's most advanced product

Cancer drug discovery and development business Sareum Holdings Plc (LON:SAR) has told investors that the company is ready to push on even more after a “strong” 2016.

A successful year for the company culminated in it securing a lucrative licensing deal for its lead Chk1 inhibitor cancer drug candidate CCT245737 (since renamed as PNT737).

The agreement with ProNAi Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:DNAI) will see Sareum receive an upfront payment of US$1.9mln, potential future milestone payments of up to US$88mln, plus a share of any sales royalties.

The success of the Chk1 programme leaves the company in a good position to continue the development of its other products, Sareum said.

“I am delighted with the progress we have made in the last year and in particular our work that has culminated in a licence agreement for the Chk1 programme,” said chief executive Tim Mitchell.

“We are now in a good position, both financially and with the knowledge that we have a proven strategy, to pursue our other drug candidates and expand our asset portfolio.”

Aside from the licensing agreement, the period was also host to several other operational highlights for the firm.

Its TYK2 lead inhibitors showed good activity in disease models of rheumatoid arthritis, while post-period end, the same inhibitors successfully came through a cancer feasibility study, supporting the case to advance the programme further.

Sareum also brought in healthcare and pharma veteran Dr Stepehen Parker as its new non-executive back in May, replacing the outgoing Dr Paul harper.

On the financial side, the successful £1.1mln placing in March strengthened the balance sheet and put the firm in a better position as it started talks with potential licensing partners, which resulted in the deal with ProNAi.

Net assets at the end of the year were £1.86mln (2015: £1.86mln), of which £1.25mln comprised cash in the bank (2015: $1.48mln), while the firm managed to narrow its losses to £1.05mln (2015: £1.26mln).

The only slight downside to the results was the news that toxicology and safety studies for Sareum’s Aurora+FLT3 molecule, a potential treatment for myeloid leukaemia, have been pushed back to the second half of next year.

The company said “challenges in the formulation and administration of the compound” were to blame for the delay, although it was confident that that these have now been largely overcome.

Shares were down 1% to 1.01p.

--Updates for additional info and share price--

Quick facts: Sareum Holdings PLC

Price: 0.51 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £16.53 m

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