E-Therapeutics (LON:ETX) chief, professor Malcolm Young, said he was “greatly encouraged” by progress in the first six months of the year.
With clinical programme either in the throes of recruitment or toward the end of that particular phase, the more meaningful news emanated from its drug discovery arm.
To date the network pharmacology specialist has identified more than 500 new molecules, though commercial development will take ETX into the field of cancer immunotherapy.
Its first two projects in this area will focus on IDO and TDO, which control to a certain extent the immune system’s reaction to the killer disease.
“The discovery platform continues to identify a large number of highly active molecules, indeed molecules with world-leading potency in some cases, and the progress of all discovery and clinical development projects are in line with our expectations,” said CEO Young.
“In addition, we have recently appointed external consultants to aid strengthening our board, including appointing a non-executive chairman, as we move into a much more commercially focussed period in the company's development.”
In the clinic, the phase IIb trials of ETS6103 for depressive disorders have recruited their final patient.
The trial data should be “unblinded” by the end of the year – which means researchers will then know who took the drug and who received the placebo.
“Once reviewed, we will announce the findings. If the results are positive we will seek to out-license the drug,” ETX told investors.
A phase Ia trial of its flagship drug candidate, ETS2101, has also recruited its final patient. It is being used to treat patients with brain cancer. These early studies focus on dosing and potential side-effects, though researchers will be on the look-out for signs of efficacy.
In May the drug developer announced the first patient received the initial dose in the phase Ib trial for ETS2101.
This is designed to investigate the treatment in combination with the standard of care for patients with newly diagnosed hepatocellular carcinoma (the most common form of liver cancer) or pancreatic cancer.
To date ETX has recruited three HCC and eight pancreatic cancer patients for these trials with a number more in screening.
Most recently, it received rapid approval from the US Food & Drug Administration for an application to extend its phase Ib trials for ETS2101 in the States.
“We aim to provide an initial update on the phase Ib activities towards the end of the financial year,” ETX told investors.
The company remains on a sound financial footing with £30mln in the bank. It revealed it received a £2mln research and development tax credit.