Sareum Holdings PLC (LON:SAR) shares stormed higher on Monday after the firm noted that a multi-centre analysis of DNA samples from patients with severe forms of coronavirus (COVID-19), including symptoms caused by the over-active inflammatory response (cytokine storm), has identified TYK2 as a key causative genetic mechanism and a potential target for therapy.
The specialist drug development company which is delivering targeted small molecule therapeutics to improve the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases said the observation, which was published online as an Accelerated Article Preview by ‘Nature’ on December 11, 2020, is consistent with the scientific rationale supporting Sareum’s recent successful UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) grant application for its proprietary TYK2/JAK1 inhibitor, SDC-1801.
The funding from this grant, announced by the company on December 3, 2020, will be used to investigate the therapeutic potential of SDC-1801 in severe phase COVID-19, in a six-month research project, with results expected around mid-2021.
This research will treat cells infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus with SDC-1801 to evaluate its potential to block the immune pathway that leads to the cytokine storm in this life-threatening disease.
Sareum also intends to investigate if treatment with SDC-1801 in disease models can re-establish protection against bacterial pneumonia following SARS-CoV-2 infection.
In a statement, Sareum’s CSO, Dr John Reader, commented: “The important findings of this extensive DNA analysis, which were highlighted in this Nature Article Preview, provide strong support for our hypothesis that TYK2 inhibition could be a significant contributor to the fight against the life-threatening cytokine storm effects of severe Covid-19.
“We are very pleased to have recently received a UKRI grant to test this hypothesis and look forward to working closely with others in the field to evaluate the potential of this new approach to bring a much-needed treatment option to patients with severe Covid-19.”
In morning trade on Monday, Sareum shares were 17.3% higher at 1.53p.
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