Sareum Holdings plc (AIM: SAR), the specialist structure-based drug discovery and services business, is pleased to announce that it has entered into a collaborative agreement with UCB, (Euronext: UCB), a global biopharmaceutical leader with annual revenues over € 2 billion and headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, to provide protein structure determination capabilities to accelerate UCB's cancer drug discovery research.

Sareum will provide UCB with access to its Crystal Bank protein structures that are drug discovery targets in several therapeutic areas. Sareum will then generate structures of selected proteins engaged with UCB's potential drug candidates. This detailed structural information aims to illustrate the precise nature of how UCB's potential drug candidates interact with their target receptor proteins, thus assisting UCB's scientists in their search for new and improved therapeutics in a number of clinical indications.

In return, Sareum will receive access fees and success milestone payments. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Commenting on the agreement, Sareum's Chief Executive Officer, Dr Tim Mitchell, said: "We are delighted that UCB has chosen Sareum as their partner in protein structure determination. This is a further important collaboration that Sareum has signed with a global pharmaceutical company and an additional example of how our Crystal Bank protein structure resource is providing revenues to support our in-house drug discovery programs."

Commenting on the agreement, UCB's Mark Bushfield, Vice President, NCE Research, said: "UCB recognises the value provided by Sareum's Crystal Bank service. It provides us with rapid access to crystal structures with our own proprietary compounds, complementing our internal structural biology capabilities."

For further information:

Sareum Holdings 01223 497700
Tim Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer

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

Notes for editors:

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

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 UCB

UCB (www.ucb-group.com) is a global biopharmaceutical leader with headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, specializing in the fields of central nervous system disorders, allergy and respiratory diseases, immune and inflammatory disorders, as well as oncology. UCB key products are Keppra(R) (antiepileptic), Xyzal(R) and Zyrtec(R) (antiallergics), Nootropil(R) (cerebral function regulator), Tussionex(TM) (antitussive) and Metadate(TM) / Equasym XL(TM) (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder). UCB employs over 8,500 people operating in over 40 countries. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (UCB / UCBBt.BR / UCB BB).