Liverpool cancer drug research firm Evgen Pharma now running two trials

  • May 31, 2016

Firm’s strong funding position supporting progress on clinical trials

Liverpool cancer drug research specialist Evgen Pharma says it has made significant progress on trials since it was admitted to the Alternative Investment Market ( AIM ) last October.

The Liverpool Science Park-based firm is hoping to use a synthetic form of a naturally occurring molecule found in broccoli and some other vegetables to treat cancers and neurological diseases.

The cash-rich company raised a total of £9m from investors during 2015, including £7m from its AIM listing which means it has enough resources to fund Phase ll clinical trials of its patent protected Sulforadex molecule.

The Phase ll trials, which are expected to take three years to complete, will assess the drug’s efficacy in treating breast cancer and a type of stroke called subarachnoid haemorrhage. In the longer term, the drug could be used to treat other diseases such as prostate cancer, multiple sclerosis and autism.

Announcing annual results for the year to March 31 today, the company said its loss rose from £2.3m last year to £3.1m, reflecting work undertaken as part of the trials, which was in
line with expectations.

The firm has cash reserves of £7.1m, compared with £200,000 a year ago.

Evgen Pharma also announced collaborations with the University of Liverpool, the University of Seville and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) to progress the novel compounds in-licensed from Spain.

A collaboration with Prof Antonio Cuadrado at the Autonomous University of Madrid will see Evgen Pharma’s SFX-01 producgt tested in some leading-edge models of Parkinson’s disease.

Evgen Pharma chief executive Dr Stephen Franklin said: “I am very pleased with the significant progress the company has made since joining AIM in October last year. We are already treating patients in a Phase II trial of our lead product, SFX-01, in subarachnoid haemorrhage and we are fully funded to complete a Phase II trial in breast cancer which will begin later this year. These two trials represent significant value inflexion points for Evgen Pharma.”

He added: “In addition, we are expecting results later this year of a head-to-head preclinical study of SFX-01 against Tecfidera®, the market-leading oral treatment for the relapsing form of multiple sclerosis. The outlook for Evgen Pharma is positive, with all programmes on track and with sufficient capital to complete the two principal Phase II trials.”

The firm has a small 10-strong team, six of which are based in Liverpool, as it outsources its development work.

Dr Franklin told ECHO Business the programme is on schedule and fully funded: “This is really about doing what you are saying you are going to do. We have started the trial on time for stroke problems and phasing up for our second trial, so we are on target.”

And he said he doesn’t envisage raising more cash at the moment: “We raised that amount because we were very keen to have sufficient cash to get through both trials and not only that but to have a bit of runway following that. We’re not going to come back to the market after our IPO (independent public offering).”