Biofusion plc (AIM: BFN), the university IP commercialisation company that turns world class research into business, is today pleased to note that Asterion Limited (“Asterion”), one of Biofusion’s portfolio companies from the Sheffield University partnership, has announced that its results have been published in the peer-reviewed, medical journal Nature Medicine. Asterion focuses on developing proteins for new therapies against a range of disorders. Biofusion has a 38% equity stake in Asterion.
Asterion’s announcement follows:
(“Asterion” or “the Company”)
Foundation Research Published in Nature Medicine
Asterion Ltd (Sheffield, UK) is pleased to announce today that results from its internally-generated research have been published in the peer-reviewed, medical journal Nature Medicine. Asterion is a privately held next-generation biopharmaceutical company that focuses on developing proteins for new therapies against a range of disorders. Asterion's research is published in Nature Medicine: A ligand-receptor fusion of growth hormone forms a dimer and is a potent long-acting agonist, Wilkinson et al., Published online: 26 August 2007; doi:10.1038/nm1610.
Asterion, a Biofusion portfolio company founded in 2001, is based on world class research from the University of Sheffield. Asterion is developing novel proteins with the potential to treat a range of cytokine disorders and is based upon structural and cellular molecular biology. Asterion has developed its technology base using growth hormone as a model system, but its approach is applicable to many other cytokines. Its platform technology should enable it to produce products that exhibit delayed clearance, have high affinity and have a reduced likelihood of side effects and unwanted immune responses.
The results in the cited Nature Medicine journal demonstrate that the new molecule developed by Asterion promotes growth after a single injection and that growth continues over a minimum of ten days in-vivo compared to the current standard of care where daily injections of growth hormone are required to promote human growth. The Asterion technology has the added attraction of simplicity for manufacture and applicability to other cytokine hormones.
Commenting on this announcement Asterion’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Raymond Barlow, said:” The publication of our foundation research in this prestigious, peer reviewed journal is a major validation of the scientific basis of Asterion’s ProFuse TM therapeutic platform technology. ProFuse TM can potentially be applied to a huge number of cytokine families and targets to generate novel, IP-protected, next-generation biopharmaceutical products (AFTTM drugs). AFTTM drugs are long-acting biopharmaceutical products that can administered less frequently than existing marketed drugs, and which have the potential for an improved side effect profile. We look forward to sharing further news on our development pipeline during the remainder of the year.”
Asterion’s Chief Scientific Officer, Professor Richard Ross, added: “We are very excited by these results which demonstrate that making a fusion of growth hormone to its receptor generates a potent hormone replacement with a very long duration of action. We believe this technology will be a major advance in recombinant protein therapeutics bringing significant benefits to patients. Children and adults with growth hormone deficiency have to give themselves daily injections whilst the new Asterion technology has the potential to reduce injections frequency to once every two weeks or once a month. We believe that the technology can be applied to a wide variety of recombinant proteins used to treat inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, and metabolic diseases. A major attraction of this new generation of cytokine hormone therapeutics is the relative simplicity of manufacture and lack of requirement for complex formulation.”