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Asterion Raises £355k Funding to Progress Novel Therapies for Hormone Related Diseases

15.05.2006
Asterion Ltd (“Asterion”), a Sheffield, UK-based drug development company and part of the Biofusion portfolio, announces today that it has raised £355k to progress its novel therapies for hormone-related diseases. Biofusion plc (“Biofusion”), the University Intellectual Property (IP) commercialisation company, led the round, investing £250k.

The White Rose Technology Seedcorn Fund (“WRTSF”), the venture capital fund owned by the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York, invested £105k. Following the investment, Biofusion’s shareholding in Asterion will be 38.01%.

Asterion is developing specialised hormones (cytokines) which are implicated in a range of diseases including diabetes and cancer as well as obesity, growth and inflammatory disorders. Asterion has developed and patented a range of technologies to produce cytokine agonists, which mimic or complement the action of a target hormone, and cytokine antagonists which reduce or inhibit the hormone action. Drugs based on these technologies have the potential to lower dose requirements, increase stability and slow clearance from the bloodstream, all leading to potentially improved performance.

Asterion has established a research programme with a major multi-national pharmaceutical company to develop growth hormone antagonists and agonists.

The new investment will enable Asterion’s to expand its research and technologies to further target hormones. These include established pharmaceuticals such as erythropoietin as well as drug targets of the future including the obesity hormone, leptin.

Peter Grant, CEO of Asterion, and a Director of Biofusion, said: “Asterion has already shown the potential of its technology through its growth hormone licensing deal. This new investment will allow us to advance a number of other product candidates which we believe will be of considerable interest to the pharmaceutical industry.”

David Baynes, CEO of Biofusion, said: “We are delighted by the progress made by the Asterion team and excited by the potential of their technology. Asterion demonstrates the strength in depth of the Biofusion portfolio, providing us with the significant potential upside of a genuine drug development company.”

Dr Joe Wiley, WRTSF’s Investment Manager said: “WRTSF provided initial funding to found Asterion in 2001 and since then the Company has met all its technological milestones and continues to represent a strong investment opportunity. Asterion is a great example of world-leading research from with within the White Rose universities that can deliver real benefits to thousands of people suffering from debilitating diseases.”

Dr Joe Wiley | alfa
Further information:
http://www.whiteroseseedcorn.com

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