Cardiff, UK - Diurnal Limited (Diurnal), a spin-out company from the University of Sheffield, has today announced a fundraising of up to £6 million.
Diurnal's lead product Chronocort®, was recently the subject of a positive Phase 2 trial in the treatment of Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. Chronocort® is due to enter pivotal Phase 3 studies in the first half of 2015.
IP Group has committed up to £4.1m of the £6m round which, if invested in full, would give the Group an undiluted beneficial interest of 51.7%. The full £6m fundraising is subject to certain regulatory milestones being met and will enable Diurnal to complete the Phase 3 programme for Chronocort® as well as advance certain other pipeline programmes.
Alan Aubrey, Chief Executive of IP Group, said "This funding is intended to support Diurnal through its Phase 3 trial as it seeks to bring Chronocort® to market. Diurnal has made impressive progress this year and is a great example both of the latent value in IP Group's Biotech division and of IP Group's commitment to supporting later-stage portfolio companies."
Chronocort® is a patented, modified-release oral formulation of hydrocortisone that allows for release of the hormone in a manner that mimics the natural circadian rhythm. This approach has the potential to help patients suffering from diseases caused by cortisol deficiency, which include Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia and Adrenal Insufficiency. Each of these diseases requires life-long treatment and Diurnal's novel approach to drug delivery has the potential to significantly improve patients' lives. Chronocort® has already received two Orphan Drug designations from the European Medicines Agency, which afford ten years of market exclusivity after the grant of marketing authorisation in Europe.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) is a condition characterised by deficiency in cortisol, an essential hormone in regulating metabolism and the response to stress. CAH has been identified as an orphan disease in Europe where there are estimated to be approximately 30,000 sufferers, with a further 21,000 sufferers in the US. Current therapy for CAH - replacement of cortisol with synthetic steroids - is unable to stimulate the natural circadian (24-hour) profile of cortisol release. Poor control of the disease can result in precocious puberty in infants, virilisation and infertility, combined with fatigue and a poor quality of life, while overuse of steroid therapy can result in obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and osteoporosis.