A listed drug discovery and development business saw its net losses widen in the six months to the end of July after ploughing more cash into its research and development.
Newcastle-based e-Therapeutics made a half-year net loss of £2.3m for the six months to the end of July, compared to £1.8m for the same period last year, but the firm said that figure reflects the investment being made in its work.
The AIM-listed business, a Newcastle University spin-out, had cash and liquid resources of £45.4m as of July 31 2013, a significant increase on last year’s £11.7m and sufficient funding to take the company into 2018m.
It spent £2.5m on research and development, up from the last half year’s £1.6m, and four new scientists have been appointed who will take up their posts before the end of the year.
The company also announced progress in several areas of study, including its lead cancer drug, ETS2101, which is currently the company’s most important product.
Early findings were reported from phase 1 trials in brain cancer and solid tumours, some of which are taking place at the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle while others are being carried out in the US.
A total of 17 people had taken part in initial trials but that number has now grown to 33 who have now been enrolled in trials in both the UK and US, and no serious adverse events have been attributed to the drug.
In the next few weeks the firm also expect to start a trial of ETS6103, a drug with the potential to treat major depressive disorder.
Professor Malcolm Young, chief executive, said: “Following our successful fundraising we are investing in further development of our network pharmacology platform, in applying this technology to add to our drug portfolio and in advancing our leading compounds, notably the cancer drug, through clinical trials. We are confident this strategy will lead to value-realising partnering deals.”
The chairman, professor Oliver James, added: “We continue to evolve our approach to drug discovery and are making significant progress in adding to and refining the techniques used in our network pharmacology platform and in identifying how best to apply these to therapeutic challenges.
“We have several discovery programmes in which multiple candidates have been generated and are under evaluation, although we are not yet ready to progress any of our leads into formal development.
“Our major goal is to ensure that we have a well-diversified portfolio of product assets by the time ETS2101 is scheduled to complete phase II development.
“With this in mind we are channelling additional investment into our discovery and informatics capabilities.”