20 January 2010



New Molecules Increase the Effectiveness of Certain Cancer Therapies

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research (“ICR”) and Sareum have developed novel chemical compounds that increase the effectiveness of current cancer therapeutics, an example of which is published in the latest edition of the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics*.

These compounds originate from the Checkpoint Kinase 1 (“CHK1”) Inhibitor joint research collaboration between the ICR, Sareum and Cancer Research Technology Limited (“CRT”).

CHK1 is a key component of a biochemical pathway responsible for reducing the effectiveness of traditional cancer therapeutics such as chemotherapy. The collaboration has developed novel, potent and selective CHK1 inhibitors that, in combination with cancer chemotherapeutics gemcitabine (Gemzar) or irinotecan (Campto), significantly reduce tumour growth in preclinical models when compared to the chemotherapeutic alone.

The ICR, Sareum and CRT are encouraged that the significant recent progress made by the collaboration has been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and believe this will assist in discussions with potential licensing partners.

 * Walton, M.I. et al, “The Preclinical Pharmacology and Therapeutic Activity of the Novel CHK1 Inhibitor SAR-020106. Mol. Cancer Ther. (2010), 9(1), 89-100.

Professor Paul Workman, Director of The Cancer Research UK Centre for Cancer Therapeutics at the ICR, said: “These are very exciting times in cancer drug development. This collaboration has brought together expertise and experience at the ICR and Sareum in the discovery of molecularly targeted anticancer agents, and has effectively demonstrated the potential to use existing drugs more effectively and hence improve cancer management.”

Sareum’s CEO, Dr Tim Mitchell, said: “This publication exemplifies the success of the collaboration and the quality of research by the scientists involved. I look forward to discussing these latest advances with potential licensing partners.”

Dr Keith Blundy, CEO of CRT said: “This partnership further exemplifies CRT’s role in bringing benefit to cancer patients by forming partnerships between cancer researchers and industry to accelerate the development of new therapies. Sareum’s technologies and the expertise of ICR have added significantly to the rate of progress of this programme.”


Media contacts:

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)


 Jane Bunce

020 7153 5106 / 07721 747900
(out of hours)

Sareum Holdings plc


Tim Mitchell

01223 497 700

Merchant John East Securities Limited

Simon Clements/Bidhi Bhoma

020 7628 2200

Hybridan LLP


Claire Noyce/Stephen Austin

020 3159 5085

Notes for editors:

About The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)

  • The ICR is Europe’s leading cancer research centre.
  • The ICR has been ranked the UK’s top academic research centre, based on the results of the Higher Education Funding Council’s Research Assessment Exercise.
  • The ICR works closely with partner The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust to ensure patients immediately benefit from new research. Together the two organisations form the largest comprehensive cancer centre in Europe.
  • The ICR has charitable status and relies on voluntary income, spending 95 pence in every pound of total income directly on research.
  • As a college of the University of London, the ICR also provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction.
  • Over its 100-year history, the ICR’s achievements include identifying the potential link between smoking and lung cancer which was subsequently confirmed, discovering that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer and isolating more cancer-related genes than any other organisation in the world.
  • The ICR is home to the world’s leading academic drug development team. Several important anti-cancer drugs used worldwide were synthesised at the ICR and it has discovered an average of two preclinical candidates each year over the past five years.

For more information visit www.icr.ac.uk

About Sareum Holdings plc


Sareum is a drug discovery company, headquartered in Cambridge UK, that is focused on producing targeted small molecule therapeutics to address unmet medical needs, primarily in cancer.


Sareum aims to successfully deliver drug candidates for licensing to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies at the pre-clinical or early clinical trials stage.


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

About Cancer Research Technology Ltd

Cancer Research Technology Limited (CRT) is an oncology-focused development and commercialisation company that realises cancer patient benefit from publicly- funded research worldwide. CRT works closely with leading international cancer scientists, their institutes and funding bodies to protect, develop and commercialise oncology-related discoveries. CRT is wholly owned by Cancer Research UK, the largest independent funder of cancer research in the world.  Further information about CRT can be found at www.cancertechnology.com.