Evgen Pharma Plc (LON:EVG), a clinical stage drug development company focused on the treatment of cancer and neurological conditions, has today announced the following update on the screening at the University of Liverpool of the Company’s novel analogues of sulforaphane.
Evgen Pharma acquired exclusive worldwide rights to the analogues from the University of Seville in 2015 as part of the Company’s strategy to secure a leading position in the intellectual property around sulforaphane-based drugs.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool evaluated 41 analogues, which represent new chemical entities based on sulforaphane’s core structure. The analogues were assessed for their cytotoxic potential against a breast cancer cell line and for their ability to activate Nrf2, which is considered to have a key role in sulforaphane’s mechanism of action against neurological conditions.
The activity of the analogues was compared with SFX-01, the Company’s lead product which is currently in two Phase II clinical studies in breast cancer and in subarachnoid haemorrhage.
The headline findings from the research work are that 21 of the analogues are at least twice as cytotoxic against (that is, able to eliminate) breast cancer cells as SFX-01, with the most potent being eight-fold more cytotoxic, and that none of the analogues are as potent as SFX-01 as an activator of Nrf2.
The results suggest that some of the analogues merit further study as anti-cancer agents and they also provide reassurance that SFX-01, as a synthesised and stabilised copy of naturally occurring sulforaphane, is the optimal sulforaphane-based active for development in subarachnoid haemorrhage and potentially other neurological indications.
Whilst the Company is focused on progressing its core clinical programmes of SFX-01, it will explore all options to further evaluate the analogues, especially with regard to their capacity specifically to target cancer stem cells in breast cancer and other solid tumours. Ultimately, some of the analogues could represent follow-on pipeline products to SFX-01.
Steve Franklin, CEO of Evgen Pharma Plc, said: “We would like to thank Dr Noureddine Khiar and Dr Ian Copple of the University of Seville and the University of Liverpool respectively for their constructive and enthusiastic collaboration on this programme. Evgen Pharma remains focused on the clinical development of SFX-01, but we are also committed to further understanding the therapeutic potential of these novel sulforaphane analogues, although recognise that in the near term this will most likely be through collaborations that can lever non-dilutive grant funding.”