Evgen Pharma (AIM: EVG), a clinical stage drug development company focused on the treatment of cancer and neurological conditions, this morning announced a new research collaboration with Imperial College London focusing on the mechanism of action in a number of diseases of SFX-01, the Company’s lead product candidate.
The project is being funded principally by an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Impact Acceleration Account grant and will be led by Professor Ed Tate, whose research interests at Imperial include chemical proteomics, medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. Evgen Pharma will supply SFX-01 and make a modest financial contribution.
The objective of the collaboration is to use advanced chemical proteomics technology to detect targets for SFX-01 and other sulforaphane analogues in live cells or tissues in specific disease model systems. This would provide greater understanding of mechanism(s) of action and contribute data important for current and future clinical development.
In 2017, Professor Ed Tate’s research group published a scientific paper(*) identifying STAT3 as a direct binding target of sulforaphane, the active principle of SFX-01. On 15 January 2018, the Company announced that SFX-01 potently suppressed activated STAT3 in patient-derived tumours treated with endocrine treatment, which may explain how SFX-01 reverses the resistance to hormone treatment seen in oestrogen-receptor positive (“ER+”) breast cancers.
As part of the agreement, Imperial will negotiate an exclusive licence giving Evgen Pharma rights to exploit any intellectual property resulting from the research collaboration.
Professor Ed Tate, Professor of Chemical Biology, Imperial College London, commented: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Evgen Pharma on this exciting project, which will build on the work that we at Imperial published last year on the first comprehensive and quantitative system-level analysis of the direct targets of sulforaphane in breast cancer cell lines.”
Steve Franklin, CEO of Evgen Pharma, said: “We welcome the opportunity to work with Professor Tate whose innovations in the field of chemical proteomics provide the opportunity to improve our knowledge of SFX-01’s mechanism of action in cancer and neurology. Meanwhile, we look forward to our first Phase II clinical data from SFX-01 in breast cancer in the first half of this year, when we will announce the interim readout from our ongoing STEM trial.”