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Sareum Holdings investors receive update on progress of cancer drug

SRA737 is a checkpoint kinase-1 inhibitor, one of a new breed of treatments
The clinical trials appear to be progressing well

Investors in Sareum Holdings PLC (LON:SAR) received an update on the company’s most advanced drugs candidate via Sierra Oncology (NASDAQ:SRRA), the NASDAQ-listed group with which Sareum has a licensing deal.

SRA737 is a checkpoint kinase-1 (Chk1) inhibitor, one of a new breed of cancer treatments, and is currently Phase I/II trials targeting various strains of the killer disease.

READ: Sareum Holdings pleased as Sierra Oncology advances cancer drug trial

It is being tested as a single therapy, in combination with a low-dose chemotherapy called gemcitabine, and in harness with a PARP inhibitor, which helps cells repair themselves.

Sierra in its update said it further refined its single therapy study to focus on high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC), “supported by emerging data in the field that provides clinical validation for Chk1 inhibition in this indication”.

Priority to ovarian cancer patients 

“Accordingly, we are prioritising the enrolment of approximately 65 genetically defined HGSOC patients into this trial, while continuing to enrol patients into the trial's other indications, although with lower priority," added Dr Nick Glover, Sierra’s chief executive.

"However, given that this amendment will require time to operationalise, we anticipate preliminary data from our monotherapy trial will be reported in the first half of 2019."

The American company is also planning to give priority to ovarian cancer patients as it recruits for its trial deploying SRA737 alongside the low-dose chemo.

In the Phase II expansion portion of the trial, which is recruiting 80 patients, 20 will be HGSOC sufferers, replacing an originally-proposed cohort of urothelial cancer patients.

Preliminary data from this trial is now expected in the first half of 2019.

Derren Nathan, of small-cap broker Hybridan, said: "We believe that the change in the trial designs to prioritise patients with high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) optimises the chance of a positive outcome, given the validation of this target evidenced by Lily’s Prexasertib data released earlier this year.

"Pre-clinical data by Sierra is also supportive of this rationale. We therefore believe the trade-off between trial optimisation and slightly extended timeline, is a decision well made."

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