Evgen Pharma Plc (LON:EVG), a clinical stage drug development company focused on the treatment of cancer and neurological conditions, has today announced a collaboration with King’s College London (“King’s”) to advance SFX-01, the Company’s lead product candidate, towards the clinic as a therapy for ischaemic stroke.
In a programme of work funded by the British Heart Foundation (“BHF”), scientists at King’s have previously shown the potential of sulforaphane – the active principle in SFX-01 – to minimise brain injury and subsequent motor deficits in highly reproducible models of ischaemic stroke.
The initial aim of the collaboration is to test SFX-01 at various doses in the aforementioned models with a view to building a clinical-trial enabling data package. This part of the work programme is being seed-funded by Evgen Pharma and will take approximately nine months to complete.
If the data looks promising, Evgen Pharma will provide quantities of SFX-01 to support a potential grant-funded clinical trial to be led by King’s. Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, the Company will have first refusal to an exclusive licence to all data and new intellectual property from such a trial on fair commercial terms to be negotiated and duly recognising the respective investments of all parties.
Evgen Pharma is already progressing SFX-01 in two Phase II trials, for advanced breast cancer and a rare type of stroke called subarachnoid haemorrhage.
Giovanni Mann, Professor of Vascular Physiology at King’s, commented: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Evgen Pharma on this exciting project. We have previously had grant support from the British Heart Foundation to test sulforaphane in laboratory models of ischaemic stroke and produced compelling data. However, sulforaphane is not a practical pharmaceutical product as it is highly unstable. With SFX-01, a stable pharmaceutical version of sulforaphane, we are now able to consider a clinical trial which could start in early 2019.”
Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Sulforaphane has shown some exciting potential in reducing the damage of a stroke and this collaboration takes a further step towards clinical trials. The translation of our research towards clinical benefit is a prime consideration, and this is a good example of how BHF funding of preclinical science has led to commercial investment to accelerate translation. ”
Steve Franklin, CEO of Evgen Pharma Plc, said: “King’s College London has world-renowned research and clinical capabilities in stroke and approached us with great enthusiasm and belief in the potential of SFX-01. We already have a core clinical programme in a rare type of stroke – subarachnoid haemorrhage – and so supporting this potential broader application in ischaemic stroke is a good strategic fit. We were attracted not just to the research capability but by the quality of the relationships that King’s has with the kind of major charities that could support a future clinical programme.”