Sareum Holdings plc (Sareum) (AIM: SAR), the specialist structure-based drug discovery business, is pleased to announce that it has developed, and filed patent applications on, novel small molecule compounds which show promising activity against two significant cancer drug discovery target types.

These targets are the Aurora and FLT kinases, believed to be key to the regulation of cell division and proliferation, which control different stages in the development of a tumour.  It is believed that a drug simultaneously able to inhibit the function of both targets will be more effective against cancer than an inhibitor that acts on a single target.  The associated patent filings are part of the Company’s strategy to secure the intellectual property rights relating to the novel compound series developed from this program and their use in the treatment of cancer.

Sareum has used its expertise in fragment and structure-based drug discovery to identify novel chemical compounds effective against these cancer drug targets.  These compounds have been rapidly progressed towards drug candidates utilising Sareum’s high throughput medicinal chemistry and structure determination platforms.  Additionally, key assets, including the determination of a hitherto un-reported Aurora kinase sub-type structure, have been developed by scientists at Sareum.

This program is currently wholly owned by Sareum and forms a key part of the Company’s internal oncology portfolio, which also includes the Checkpoint Kinase program announced in February 2007.

Commenting on the announcement, Sareum’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Tim Mitchell, said: “The progress of these compounds represents a further milestone in Sareum’s strategy to generate value through our in-house drug discovery.  We are actively seeking licencing partners for this program to assist the advancement of these novel chemical series through to clinical candidate nomination.”

For Further Information:

Sareum Holdings plc

01223 497700

Tim Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer

 

Buchanan Communications

020 7466 5000

Tim Anderson, Mary-Jane Johnson

 

Grant Thornton Corporate Finance

020 7383 5100

Philip Secrett, Colin Aaronson

 

Notes for editors:

About Aurora Kinases

Aurora kinases have been implicated in the onset of several human cancers. They are over-expressed in different tumour types including colon, breast and pancreatic cancers as well as in leukemias.  Aurora kinases are involved in regulating multiple steps of mitosis (the process by which a copy of the duplicated genome is precisely segregated into two daughter cells), including centrosome duplication, formation of a bipolar mitotic spindle, chromosome alignment on the mitotic spindle and regulation of the fidelity-monitoring spindle checkpoint.

About FLT Kinases

The FLT kinases have been demonstrated to be important in many stages of tumour development.  For instance, FLT-1 has been linked to tumour angiogenesis, a duplication of the FLT-3 gene is seen in many leukemia patients and FLT-4 is associated with metastases of tumours, which are the main cause of death in cancer patients.

About Sareum Holdings plc

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

A structure-based approach to drug discovery relies on knowledge of the three-dimensional structure of the proteins that cause disease.  Once the structure is known, potential drugs are designed to ‘lock-in’ to the protein with the aim of reversing or arresting a disease’s progression.  Knowledge of the structure of the potential drugs and how they ‘lock-in’ to their target protein assists greatly in the development of high-quality drug candidates.  Determining structure is a complex task and requires leading-edge equipment and experienced staff.  Sareum’s approach to structure determination utilises its proprietary protein expression platform in order to produce multiple recombinant proteins that accelerate structure determination using x-ray crystallography.

Once the structure is determined, the Company’s innovative fragment screening platform is used to identify novel chemical templates designed to interact with the target protein.  Sareum then uses its high-throughput medicinal chemistry platform to rapidly optimise these molecules and develop the most promising into potential drug candidates.

Sareum aims to successfully deliver drug candidates for licensing to larger pharmaceutical companies at the pre-clinical or early clinical trials stage.  This is funded by provision of its specialist drug discovery capabilities to partners in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

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