6 March 2008

SAREUM HOLDINGS PLC

(“Sareum” or the “Company”)

 

Research Update: Oncology Portfolio  

Sareum Holdings plc (Sareum) (AIM: SAR), the specialist structure-based drug discovery company, is pleased to announce an additional in-house drug discovery programme. Novel small molecule compounds have been discovered that are effective against an important cancer drug discovery target and associated patent applications have been filed.

This programme targets the enzyme Fatty Acid Synthase (FASN). High levels of FASN are present in most cancer types and are associated with diminished patient survival. Reduction of FASN activity has been reported to lead to cancer cell death and decreased tumour size in many different cancer models.

Sareum has used its expertise in small molecule drug discovery to identify novel chemical compounds that inhibit the activity of FASN and show efficacy in cancer cell survival models.  The Company aims to develop these compounds into potential therapies for a wide range of cancers.

This programme is currently wholly owned by Sareum and forms part of a robust and expanding internal oncology portfolio, which also includes the CHK1, Aurora, FLT, PLK1 and B-RAF Kinase programmes which were announced in February, May and October 2007.

Commenting on the announcement, Sareum’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Tim Mitchell, said: “This program represent a significant development in Sareum’s internal drug candidate portfolio with key assets identified against important cancer drug discovery targets.  The development and ultimate commercialisation of these programs is a key value driver for the Company.”

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 FASN

The FASN gene is significantly up-regulated in many types of cancer, including cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, colon, blood, skin, ovary, pancreas and stomach, and FASN expression parallels increased cancer aggressiveness and correlates with poorer patient survival. FASN over-expression is considered to be one of the most common molecular changes in cancer cells, but is expressed at minimum or undetectable levels in most normal tissues. Blocking FASN expression or activity results in apoptosis of tumour cells and reduction of tumour volumes in cancer models.

FASN inhibitors have been shown to be effective in killing cancer cells and reducing tumour volumes as stand-alone agents. They can also confer cancer cells with higher levels of sensitivity to both traditional anti-cancer chemotherapeutics and the latest targeted therapies. Analysis of normal tissues following FASN inhibitor treatment in cancer models shows no adverse effects. For these reasons, FASN is considered to be an attractive target for anti-cancer therapy.

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