Losses widen at Newcastle based e-Therapeutics PLC as progress is made in clinical trials

Drug discovery and development company remains fully funded until 2019 as advances are made in its 'network pharmacology' approach

Professor Malcolm Young of e-therapeutics based in Newcastle
Professor Malcolm Young of e-therapeutics based in Newcastle

Losses have widened at the Newcastle-based drug discovery and development company e-Therapeutics as the business continues to make significant progress in clinical trials and tests.

Results for the year ended January 31, show the firm’s loss before tax amounted to £9.8m, compared to £6.1m the year before.

Cash and liquid resources likewise fell from £43.1m to £33.8m, reflecting increased levels of research spend.

But at January 31, the company, which also has a site in Oxford, anticipated an R&D tax credit worth £2m, up from £1.1m in 2014, due to increases in both R&D spend and the claimable rate.

e-Therapeutics focuses on exploring potential new drug therapies for a variety of diseases, advancing the most promising through clinical trials.

Its work centres on targeting celluar protein networks associated with particular illnesses - an approach known as ‘network pharmacology’.

This differs significantly from conventual drug discovery, which is based on targeting single proteins as specifically as possible.

During the year, the business progressed with three major clinical studies internationally, making notable progress with ETS2101 as a cancer drug.

In UK trials, a maximum tolerated dose was established, while in the US a brain cancer trial is ongoing, with preliminary results anticipated soon.

A study looking at the drug’s efficacy in relation to pancreatic and hepatocellular cancers is also due to start in mid-April across 15 locations in four countries.

e-Therapeutics also expects to complete a trial for ET6103 soon in relation to major depressive disorder and potential opportunities are being explored for another drug, ETX1153c.

Meanwhile, the company says its discovery platform is “achieving striking productivity”.

During the year, selection and testing for 2,2000 molecules across six discovery projects was carried out, compared to 100 molecules the year before.

Data also suggests around 20% of the screen compounds are active and that yields are three orders of magnitude better than published rates for conventional drug discovery.

This year, the intention is to analyse ten or more discovery projects, while undertaking in vitro testing for many thousands of molecules.

e-Therapeutics chairman Prof. Malcom Young said: “The board continues to believe that the increasing discovery output reflects the utility of using our proprietary approach to network science and chemical biology to enhance the selection of molecules likely to be attractive for further development.

“With a strong balance sheet, e-Therapeutics remains fully funded for its current development plans into 2019.”

The directors are not recommending a dividend for the period.

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