23 February 2009

 

SAREUM HOLDINGS PLC

(“Sareum” or “the Company”)

 

INTERIM RESULTS FOR THE SIX MONTHS ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2008

 

Sareum (AIM: SAR), the specialist cancer drug discovery business, is pleased to announce its interim results for the six month period ended 31 December 2008.

 

Financial highlights

  • Cash in bank at period end £531,000 (2007: £920,000)
  • Loss on ordinary activities (after taxation) of £848,000 (2007: £674,000), includes one-off re-structuring costs of £360,000

 

Operational highlights

  • Strategic review and restructuring completed
  • Trading on AIM restored
  • Primary focus is on development of compounds targeting cancer
  • Relocation of office premises, resulting in significant cost savings

 

Dr Tim Mitchell, CEO of Sareum Holdings plc, said: “We have completed the restructuring of the Company and operate from a greatly reduced cost base following our strategic review last year. We can now concentrate on the development and commercialisation of our cancer drug pipeline.”

 

Sareum Holdings plc

 

Tim Mitchell

01223 497 700

 

 

John East & Partners Limited

 

Simon Clements/Bidhi Bhoma

020 7628 2200

 

 

Hybridan LLP

 

Claire Noyce/Stephen Austin

020 3159 5085

 

The full report is avaialble as a pdf document: Financial Results for the Six Months Ended 31/12/08

Interim Results for the six months ended 31 December 2008

Chairman’s Statement

During the period, Sareum Holdings plc completed a strategic review of the business, which it initiated in May 2008. This was prompted by an awareness of the increasingly difficult trading conditions experienced by the fee for services division. The executive directors presented a re-structuring plan to the Board and, following consultation with the Company’s advisers, the plan was approved and implemented.  The re-structuring of Sareum included selling the fee for services division, along with all of its laboratory equipment.

 

Sareum has retained the intellectual property contained in its research programmes and is now able to concentrate on its primary task of cancer drug discovery, whilst operating from a significantly reduced and controllable cost-base. The research activities, such as synthesis of new molecules and their testing, are sub-contracted to third parties. Sareum designs and selects the drug candidates for each of the three programmes currently in development, and maintains the appropriate patent portfolio

The Company has continued to make positive progress with its in-house cancer drug discovery programmes, resulting in three further patent applications and the publication of three patents from previous filings.

Sareum’s most advanced in-house programme is carried out in conjunction with one of the world’s leading cancer research organisations, The Institute of Cancer Research and Cancer Research Technologies Ltd. Additionally, we are developing cancer drug discovery programmes against a further two targets. These programmes are wholly owned by Sareum. Significantly, we have obtained positive results from in-vivo pre-clinical experiments designed to demonstrate that programme compounds increase the efficacy of cancer chemotherapeutics that are in clinical use. 

We have received expressions of interest from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in these programmes. We are actively pursuing these approaches. This supports our belief that our approach to drug discovery is capable of generating valuable commercial assets.

Changes to the Board

Dr Alastair Riddell (Non-Executive Director), Giorgio Reggiani (Finance Director) and Dr David Williams (VP, Biology & Structural Sciences) resigned from the Board of the Company during the period. I thank them for their valuable contribution to the Company and wish them well for the future.

Financial review

During the period, revenues of £32,000 were recognised arising from fee-for-service collaborations prior to the sale of that part of the business.

The sale of the fee for service business included the sale of almost all of the equipment assets of the company and the write-down of the improvements made to the (now vacated) laboratory building. The cash received from the fee for service business and asset sale approximately equalled the write-down in equipment and building improvement assets, such that the effect on the balance sheet was an estimated £10,000 reduction in net assets. All of the Company’s long-term loans, which included equipment lease financing and a loan from the landlord, have been paid off.

The re-structuring incurred one-off costs of £360,000, which included redundancy payments to staff, compensation to the landlord for early termination of the lease on the laboratory building and payments to specialist advisors. The consequential decrease in staff numbers and move to smaller office premises has resulted in an approximate 6-fold reduction in ongoing operating costs.

 

We ended the half year with net assets of £552,000, including £531,000 of cash in the bank. The Directors believe that the Company has sufficient cash to fund the business until at least January 2010. A commercial deal on one or more of the research programmes would further increase the duration of its funds.

 

Outlook

Our primary objective is to advance our in-house cancer drug discovery pipeline to deliver drug candidates that are positioned to attract lucrative partnering deals with pharmaceutical companies. We will continue to advance these programmes and file further drug patent applications during the year to protect our intellectual property portfolio. We expect to develop further drug candidates for pre-clinical studies during the current financial year. We are actively seeking licensing partners with the aim of achieving a licensing deal on at least one of our three current in-house programmes.

 

Dr Paul Harper
Chairman
Sareum Holdings plc