ValiRx PLC – Expanded agreement with University of Barcelona

ValiRx Plc (AIM: VAL), a life science company focusing on early-stage cancer therapeutics and women’s health, is today pleased to announce that the evaluation agreement announced on 14 February 2022 from Barcelona University has been expanded to a broader collaboration including additional molecules targeting KRAS (Kirsten RAt Sarcoma) as possible drugs for treating cancer.

Under the previous agreement, ValiRx had been conducting a range of experiments on the initial project from Barcelona University over a period of twelve months. A lead series of peptidomimetic therapeutic candidates was assessed initially in silico, with the top four molecules selected for synthesis and in vitro testing. These cell-based in vitro studies investigated the activity of the four molecules against pancreatic cancer, uterine sarcoma and ovarian cancer cells. Three of the four molecules selected demonstrated good activity and one of them was then selected for further study in vivo.

Whilst the in vivo study did not achieve the desired level of anti-cancer activity, it demonstrated no adverse toxicity leading to the conclusion that further research around this molecular series would be beneficial.

The University of Barcelona has an active research group working in this area and has been awarded a grant to further study the effects of the same lead series. ValiRx has entered into an expansion of the initial evaluation agreement (“Expanded Evaluation Agreement”) to continue to work alongside the recently funded Barcelona research team to build a broader understanding of the biological activity of the drug candidates.

The Expanded Evaluation Agreement includes research on an additional series of molecules for a different, yet equally novel, binding pocket of KRAS which are within the University of Barcelona’s research program; and the ability to consider further compounds that may be developed at the University of Barcelona under the format this agreement.

The Expanded Evaluation Agreement is scheduled to be active for up to four years, with the potential to extend by a further four years, with each project being subject to a standard set of legal conditions, and each lead series undergoing a separate evaluation process. Each evaluation process is expected to last up to 12 months, with success potentially leading to the set-up of a ValiRx subsidiary to further progress the project.

Dr Suzy Dilly, CEO of ValiRx commented: “We are delighted to be able to provide a letter of industrial support for the grant application by the University of Barcelona and we very much look forward to reviewing the additional data generated by the team. The capability of this team in generating leads for assessment is truly impressive, and we’re pleased that we have set up this broader framework to allow us to assess new molecules efficiently if they emerge as suitable candidates for further development.”

University of Barcelona research group’s Principal Investigator commented: “We appreciate the work conducted by ValiRx to expand on the evaluation agreement with more of our projects giving us an opportunity to advance our research in such an important area of science. The support ValiRx brings us is extremely valuable for our research and we anticipate the complimentary experiments and data will reinforce our projects.”

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