15 August 2011


Preclinical Development Candidate Selected for Chk1 Inhibitor Programme

Sareum, the specialist cancer drug discovery business, The Institute of Cancer Research (“the ICR”) and Cancer Research UK’s commercial arm, Cancer Research Technology Limited (“CRT”) are pleased to announce the selection of a preclinical development candidate from their joint research collaboration.

The joint research collaboration targets Chk1 (Checkpoint Kinase 1). Chk1 is important in controlling a cancer cell’s response to DNA damage, which may be a consequence of the cancer itself, or intentionally caused by chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Preclinical model studies carried out at the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the ICR demonstrate that the Chk1 candidate, dosed via the oral route, in combination with the chemotherapeutics gemcitabine or irinotecan significantly reduces cancer growth rates compared to treatment with the same dose of chemotherapeutic without the Chk1 inhibitor.

Further preclinical studies demonstrate the potential for the collaboration Chk1 development candidate to reduce tumour growth when given as a sole treatment in models of certain cancer types that are believed to be dependent on Chk1 for survival.

Sareum’s CEO, Dr Tim Mitchell, commented: “The selection of a preclinical development candidate is a major milestone for the collaboration that will significantly enhance the licensing package. Our research indicates that the selectivity and oral dosing properties of this candidate give it a competitive advantage.”

Professor Paul Workman, Director of the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the ICR, said: "The significant progress made so far is very pleasing and highlights the value of partnerships between industry and academic drug discovery groups like ours. There is further important development work to be done so that patients can one day benefit from these drugs, and we look forward to the progress of the compound towards the clinic.”

Dr Philip Masterson, Associate Director at Cancer Research Technology, said: “We are working to select the right commercial partner to take the Chk1 programme into clinical development. Our ultimate aim is that one day, this drug will become available to treat a range of cancers and save more lives from the disease.

Our scientists have shown that this drug is promising in preclinical studies, and we hope further research will prove that it can be used on its own or alongside chemotherapy and radiotherapy to destroy cancer cells in patients.” 

For Further Information:

Sareum Holdings plc


Tim Mitchell

01223 497 700

The Institute of Cancer Research


Jane Bunce, Science Communications Manager

0207 153 5106

Cancer Research Technology Ltd


Emma Rigby, CRT press office

020 3469 8318 / 07050 264 059

Merchant Securities Limited (Nomad)

Simon Clements

020 7628 2200

Hybridan LLP (Broker)


Claire Noyce

020 7947 4350



Media enquiries:


The Communications Portfolio Ltd


Ariane Comstive /’ Caolan Mahon

020 7536 2028/2029



Notes for editors:

About Sareum Holdings plc

Sareum is a drug discovery company, headquartered in Cambridge UK, that produces targeted small molecule therapeutics, focusing on cancer and auto-immune disease. Sareum aims to successfully deliver drug candidates for licensing to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies at the pre-clinical or early clinical trials stage.

Sareum’s Chk1 kinase cancer research programme is a joint research collaboration with The Institute of Cancer Research and Cancer Research Technology Limited. The development candidate resulting from the collaboration increases the effectiveness of current cancer therapeutics in several in-vivo cancer models.

SKIL® (Sareum Kinase Inhibitor Library) is Sareum’s drug discovery technology platform that has so far produced the Company’s Aurora+FLT3, Aurora+ALK, VEGFR-3, FLT3 & TYK2 kinase cancer and auto-immune disease research programmes. SKIL can also generate drug research programmes against other kinase targets.

Sareum Holdings plc is listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and trades under the symbol SAR.  For further information, please visit www.sareum.co.uk

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

•       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 cancer drug development team. Several important anti-cancer drugs used worldwide were synthesised at the ICR, including the FDA-approved prostate cancer drug abiraterone, and it has discovered 14 preclinical candidates over the past five years.  For more information visit www.icr.ac.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.