27 September 2016


(“Sareum” or “the Company”)

Licence agreement for Chk1 Inhibitor CCT245737

Sareum Holdings plc (AIM:SAR), the specialist cancer drug discovery and development company, is pleased to announce that its co-investment partner, the CRT Pioneer Fund, has today licensed exclusive and worldwide rights for the Chk1 inhibitor cancer drug candidate CCT245737 (to be renamed PNT737) to ProNAi Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: DNAI).

Under the terms of the agreement, an immediate upfront payment of US$7.0 million is due to the co-investment partners and an additional fee of up to US$2.0 million will be payable upon the successful transfer of the two ongoing Phase 1 clinical trials to ProNAi.  Additional payments in the aggregate amount of up to US$319.5 million may become payable upon achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones. ProNAi will also owe high single to low double digit royalties on the net sales of any product successfully developed.

Under Sareum’s agreements with Cancer Research Technology and the CRT Pioneer Fund, Sareum is entitled to 27.5% of these payments. Therefore, Sareum will receive (i) US$1.9 million as an upfront payment, (ii) potential future milestone payments of up to US$88.4 million, some of which are expected to be paid within the next twelve months upon certain development milestones being met and (iii) its share of any sales royalties.  

Furthermore, the unspent balance, estimated at c£300,000, of the financial commitment to the trial funding of £797,500 made by Sareum in December 2015 will be returned to the Company.

ProNAi is a well-funded clinical stage drug development company advancing targeted therapeutics for the treatment of patients with cancer. The company is comprised of a highly respected management team with a proven track record of success in oncology drug development.

PNT737 was originally developed in a research collaboration between the Institute of Cancer Research, London (ICR), Sareum Limited and Cancer Research Technology Ltd (CRT). The Programme was licensed to the CRT Pioneer Fund in September 2013 and a co-investment partnership with Sareum was formed to progress the candidate drug through clinical trials.  

Dr Tim Mitchell, CEO of Sareum commented, “This is a major achievement for our lead candidate as well as for Sareum.  Starting with the initial discovery, we have contributed financially and scientifically to the ongoing development of the programme into clinical trials. The returns from this research investment will be realised in this licence agreement, validating our strategy and business model.  ProNAi is in a strong position to further the development of PNT737 and plans to expand its development into the United States and with broader clinical studies.  We look forward to reporting on their progress.”

“This is another significant milestone on the development path for this promising Chk1 inhibitor. We recently initiated a Phase 1 single agent monotherapy study and a Phase 1 study of PNT737 in combination with DNA-targeting chemotherapies. ProNAi has a world-class oncology development team and is well-capitalized, and we believe these studies and the ongoing development strategy for this drug are in excellent hands,” added Dr Robert James, Managing Partner of Sixth Element Capital LLP, managers of the CRT Pioneer Fund.

This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation 596/2014.


For further information, please contact:

Sareum Holdings plc


Tim Mitchell

01223 497 700

WH Ireland Limited (Nominated Adviser and Co-Broker)

Chris Fielding / Nick Prowting

020 7220 1666

Hybridan LLP (Co-Broker)


Claire Noyce / William Lynne

020 3764 2341/2342

The Communications Portfolio (Sareum Media enquiries)


Ariane Comstive

07785 922 354

ProNAi Therapeutics Inc.

James Smith, Vice President, Corporate Affairs


+1 604 558 6536

Hume Brophy (for the CRT Pioneer Fund)

Mary Clark, Hollie Vile, Eva Haas

+44 20 7862 6390

Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development and Cancer Research Technology

Emily Head

+44 20 3469 6189


Notes for Editors:

Sareum is a drug discovery and development company delivering targeted small molecule therapeutics, focusing on cancer and autoimmune disease, for licensing to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies at the preclinical or early clinical trials stage.

Sareum operates an outsourced research model, working with collaborators (SRI International, the CRT Pioneer Fund and Hebei Medical University Biomedical Engineering Center) and a world-wide network of research providers. One of its collaborative programmes has been advanced into Phase 1 clinical trials and another is undergoing pre-clinical IND-enabling studies.

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 autoimmune disease research programmes. SKIL® can also generate drug research programmes against other kinase targets.

Checkpoint Kinase 1 (Chk1) and PNT737:

PNT737 is a highly selective, orally available, small molecule inhibitor of Checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1).

DNA is continuously subject to damage through a variety of endogenous and exogenous mechanisms and, in turn, cells have developed complex processes to resolve this DNA damage. Chk1 is a central regulator in the DDR network of cellular pathways that detect and repair DNA damage. Chk1 impacts multiple cell-cycle checkpoints, temporarily inhibiting the progression of cell replication and division in order for DNA repair processes to be undertaken.

Malignant cells tolerate substantially greater levels of DNA damage than would be acceptable in healthy cells. Cancer cells survive and replicate, despite accumulating DNA damage due to replicative stress, via an over-reliance on select components of the DDR network including Chk1. As such, inhibition of Chk1 by PNT737 may be synthetically lethal to cancer cells and of potential benefit in the treatment of certain cancers.

Certain standard chemotherapeutic agents and radiotherapy also induce DNA damage in order to kill cancer cells. There exists potential for synergy between these standard therapies and Chk1 inhibitors such as PNT737.

PNT737 was discovered and initially developed by scientists in the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in collaboration with Sareum, with funding provided by Cancer Research UK, the ICR and Sareum. The program was licensed by CRT and the ICR to the CRT Pioneer Fund, a specialist cancer investment fund established by Sixth Element Capital LLP (6EC), Cancer Research Technology (CRT) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) and managed by 6EC, in September 2013 and a co-investment partnership with Sareum was formed to progress the candidate drug through clinical trials.

About ProNAi Therapeutics

ProNAi Therapeutics is a clinical stage drug development company advancing targeted therapeutics for the treatment of patients with cancer. Its lead product candidate is PNT737, targeting Chk1. ProNAi is also advancing PNT141, a potent, selective and orally bioavailable small molecule inhibitor of the Cdc7 kinase undergoing preclinical development. Cdc7 is a key regulator of both DNA replication and the DDR network, making it a compelling emerging target for the potential treatment of a broad range of tumor types. For more information, please visit www.pronai.com.

About the CRT Pioneer Fund

PNT737 is the lead asset in the CRT Pioneer Fund, a specialist oncology investment fund established in 2012 by Sixth Element Capital LLP (6EC), CRT, BACIT and the European Investment Fund and managed by 6EC. The CRT Pioneer Fund is dedicated to investment in oncology development programs in Europe.  The focus for investment is pre-lead optimization through to early clinical trials in man. The Fund is dedicated to asset financing projects emanating from Europe and expects to commit two-thirds of its investment to projects derived from Cancer Research UK’s oncology drug discovery portfolio with the remainder being invested in projects from outside Cancer Research UK.

About Cancer Research Technology

Cancer Research Technology (CRT) is a specialist commercialisation and development company, which aims to develop new discoveries in cancer research for the benefit of cancer patients. CRT works closely with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. CRT facilitates the discovery, development and marketing of new cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling technologies. CRT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK, the world's leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. Further information about CRT can be found at www.cancertechnology.com and about Cancer Research UK at www.cancerresearchuk.org.

About The Institute of Cancer Research, London

The ICR, London, is one of the world's most influential cancer research organizations.

Scientists and clinicians at ICR are working every day to make a real impact on cancer patients' lives. Through its unique partnership with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and 'bench-to-bedside' approach, the ICR is able to create and deliver results in a way that other institutions cannot. Together the two organizations are rated in the top four centers for cancer research and treatment globally.

The ICR's mission is to make the discoveries that defeat cancer. For more information visit http://www.icr.ac.uk