Sareum Holdings PLC (LON:SAR) said its application for a £174,000 grant from UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) to investigate the therapeutic potential of its SDC-1801 selective, small molecule TYK2/JAK1 kinase inhibitor to treat coronavirus has been conditionally approved.
The specialist drug developer said it is now awaiting a formal grant offer letter from UKRI and that subject to the grant being provided it has agreed to contribute an additional £64,000 in cash and commit additional management time to the project, which is expected to take around six months to complete.
SDC-1801 is designed to inhibit the occurrence of a ‘cytokine storm’, an overreaction of the immune system that leads to acute respiratory distress syndrome and can cause illnesses such as coronavirus, SARS, MERS and influenza to be fatal.
“We are delighted that UKRI has indicated its conditional support for our programme to investigate the therapeutic potential of SDC-1801, our proprietary TYK2/JAK1 inhibitor, in severe phase [coronavirus]”, Sareum’s chief scientific officer John Reader said in a statement.
“There is a pressing need for new therapies to treat this potentially life-threatening disease, and there is evidence to show that TYK2/JAK1 signalling may play an important role in the inflammatory cascade that leads to the cytokine storm observed in some patients”, he added.
Shares in Sareum were 1.1% lower at 2.2p in late-morning trading on Tuesday.