Sareum Holdings plc (AIM: SAR), the specialist structure-based drug discovery and services business, is pleased to announce the addition of the structure of BCL-2, an important cancer research target protein, to its "Crystal Bank" resource of rapidly accessible protein structures.

BCL-2 is a protein that promotes the survival of many types of cancer cell. Drugs that inhibit the action of BCL-2 may be developed into novel cancer therapeutics. Knowledge of the structure of BCL-2 in complex with potential drug candidates can be used to accelerate the discovery of new and improved cancer treatments.

This is the first reported determination of the structure of BCL-2 by X-ray crystallography and thus marks a major scientific achievement for Sareum. The Company intends to publish the structure in due course.

Crystal Bank protein structures, including BCL-2, are available to pharmaceutical and biotechnology company clients in complex with their potential drug candidates on a fee-for-service basis. This information assists clients accelerate their drug discovery by providing a valuable insight into the precise nature of the interaction between these potential drug candidates and their target proteins.

Commenting on the agreement, Sareum's Chief Executive Officer, Dr Tim Mitchell, said: "We are extremely pleased to announce the first reported X-ray structure of this important protein in cancer research. To date, we have entered into two collaborations based on this BCL-2 protein structure, and are pursuing inquiries from several other companies. Fee-for-service agreements with Crystal Bank proteins such as BCL-2 are providing an important source of revenues to support our in-house cancer research programs."

For further information:

Sareum Holdings 01223 497700
Tim Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer

Buchanan Communications 020 7466 5000
Tim Anderson, Mark Court, Mary-Jane Johnson

Notes for editors:

About Crystal Bank

Sareum's Crystal Bank is a highly valuable resource for clients requiring fast turnaround of structural data that shows how their compounds bind with selected protein targets. Such information accelerates the validation and selection of novel lead compounds and is therefore invaluable at both the hit-to-lead and the lead optimisation stages of drug discovery research.

Crystal Bank is a unique and expanding collection of important protein targets that are known to be of significant therapeutic relevance. These proteins come from a range of protein classes and have all been analysed and understood to a level where we can rapidly and cost-effectively generate ligand co-complex structural data for our clients' compounds. The co-complex structural data, and the associated understanding of the Structure-Activity Relationship, help our clients to:

  • Prioritise leads based on actual and potential interactions with proteins
  • Boost ligand potency
  • Overcome selectivity issues
  • Identify sites to attach PK-modifying groups without affecting potency or selectivity
  • Identify lead hopping opportunities

Sareum's Crystal Bank currently comprises 17 structures, including BCL-2, GSK3 beta, p38 MAP kinase, CDK2/Cyclin A2, Zap-70, Erk2 and PPAR delta. The full list is available on request.

About Sareum Holdings plc

Sareum Holdings plc is a specialist structure based drug discovery and services business headquartered in Cambridge, UK. The Company was formed in August 2003 to discover new drugs for the treatment of cancer and to provide a range of drug discovery services to the pharmaceutical industry. Sareum's unique approach aims to halve the time it takes to discover new drug candidates.

Structure-based drug discovery involves the determination of a disease causing protein's three-dimensional structure. Once the structure is known, novel chemical entities are designed to 'lock-in' to the protein with the aim of reversing or arresting a disease's progression.

Sareum's approach to structure based drug discovery is to produce multiple recombinant proteins primarily through a baculovirus expression system; determine their structure using x-ray crystallography; and then use the Company's template-molecule x-ray screening technology to identify new chemical entities designed to interact with the target protein. Sareum then uses its high-throughput medicinal chemistry platform to rapidly synthesise further molecules and develop the most promising into potential drug candidates.

Sareum provides its specialist drug discovery capabilities to partners in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The Company aims to successfully deliver: Programmes for complete gene-to-candidate structure-based discovery; projects to accelerate or improve the productivity of specific activities; and drug candidates for licensing at the Phase I or Phase II clinical trials stage.

Sareum joined the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in October 2004 and trades under the symbol SAR. For further information, please visit www.sareum.co.uk