Pre-clinical Program & Transaction Update
11 August 2022
Roquefort Therapeutics plc
("Roquefort Therapeutics" or the "Company")
Pre-clinical Program & Transaction Update
Successful proof of principle for first-in-class drug program
Roquefort Therapeutics (LSE:ROQ, OTCQB:ROQAF), the Main Market listed biotech company focused on early-stage opportunities in the biotechnology sector, is pleased to provide an update on the progress of its proprietary Midkine ("MDK") antisense oligonucleotide* pre-clinical drug development program, on its patent portfolio and on the Oncogeni transaction.
MDK Pre-clinical Drug Development Program
Since the announcement on 7 June 2022, where the Company reported that its collaborative cancer research project with Professor Steve Wilton and his colleagues at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia had demonstrated >90% efficacy at the mRNA level, the Company has been focused on in vitro experiments to test and demonstrate the ability of the novel MDK oligonucleotide drugs to reduce production of full length MDK in cancer cells. It is important to reduce MDK because high MDK levels are prevalent in many solid tumours and are associated with metastasis, poor response to treatment and poor patient prognosis.
The in vitro experiments have been completed with the Company's proprietary oligonucleotides successfully reducing high MDK levels in cancer cells by generating a truncated form of the MDK protein. The switch to the truncated MDK is consistent with the >90% efficacy at the mRNA level previously reported. These positive results demonstrate the pre-clinical proof of principle in cancer for the antisense oligonucleotide drug development program and underpin the Company's ability to progress to in vivo studies and clinical trials in due course targeting MDK in cancer. These results underpin the potential for first-in-class medicines targeting the "hard to treat" cancers that express Midkine.
The Company has recently updated its filed patent in Australia and has also filed a UK patent to protect the composition of the truncated MDK, mRNAs and antisense oligonucleotides, which further consolidates the Company's leadership position in the MDK patent field.
The Company will update the market on the progress of these key programs in due course.
Oncogeni Transaction & Placing
Further to the announcement on 22 June 2022, the Company advises that it is working on publishing a prospectus, completing the acquisition of the entire issued capital of Oncogeni Limited ("Oncogeni") and completing the £1,015,000 placing as soon as possible. In anticipation of completion of the acquisition, the Company has commenced use of Oncogeni's state of the art laboratory in Stratford-upon-Avon and is preparing to carry out an innovative in-house program of research and development.
*antisense oligonucleotides are small pieces of DNA or RNA that can bind to specific molecules of RNA. This blocks the ability of the RNA to make a protein, or the RNA's ability to work in other ways. Antisense oligonucleotides may be used to block the production of proteins needed for cell growth. They are being studied in the treatment of several types of cancer.
Stephen West, Executive Chairman, commented:
"These positive results demonstrate the pre-clinical proof of principle in cancer for our innovative antisense oligonucleotide drug development program and underpin the potential for a first class medicine in the highly valuable solid tumour cancer market. Following these results, the Company can progress towards in vivo, and clinical studies.
"I am optimistic for Roquefort Therapeutics' future and look forward to updating the market as to the progression of the Oncogeni Transaction, as well as our exciting drug development programs."
For further information on Roquefort Therapeutics, please visit www.roquefortplc.com and @RoquefortTherap on Twitter.
About Roquefort Therapeutics
Roquefort Therapeutics (LSE:ROQ) is a Main Market listed biotech company developing products through the pre-clinical phase prior to partnering or selling to big pharma. The Company is a pre-clinical biotech company focused on developing first in class Midkine targeting drugs for the treatment of cancer.
Through extensive research resulting in validation through publication in over 1,000 scientific journals, Roquefort Therapeutics has identified the potential to exploit the broad therapeutic potential of Midkine for a number of clinical indications of unmet needs. Roquefort Therapeutics holds an exclusive licence to the largest global IP portfolio on Midkine. The Midkine blocking drug development markets have significant global market potential (in the multi-billion dollars). Roquefort Therapeutic's pre-clinical program is currently underway with an initial focus on cancer.