Asarina Pharma, a drug development company focused on the development of a novel therapy for severe premenstrual symptoms, has completed a financing round raising EURO 7 million from new and existing investors for the continued clinical development of Sepranolone.
Around 5% of women in fertile age worldwide suffer from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), a debilitating condition that prevents sufferers from leading a normal working and social life. Despite the high prevalence of the disease and the severity of its symptoms, there is low awareness of PMDD, and the pharmaceutical industry has so far been unable to meet this medical need. PMDD is caused by altered brain sensitivity to an endogenous steroid produced after ovulation resulting in monthly recurrent episodes of depression, anxiety and mood lability. As of today, treatment options include anti-depressants and oral contraceptives, but they have shown little effect, and are generally poorly accepted by the patients.
Asarina’s lead candidate, Sepranolone, could become a game changer. Developed by Professor Torbjörn Bäckström and his team at the University of Umeå (Sweden), and specifically designed for the treatment of PMDD, Sepranolone is the first potential therapy to target the underlying cause of this condition. Sepranolone has shown promising results in an exploratory clinical Phase I/II study. Using the funds from current, and new investors Idinvest Partner (France) and Ergomed plc (UK, AIM: ERGO), Asarina is now preparing a Phase IIb clinical trial, to be conducted in the US and a number of European countries, among them Sweden.
Peter Nordkild, CEO of Asarina Pharma, said: “We are delighted to have attracted new investments from Idinvest and Ergomed, as well as our current stakeholders. Long-term investors have played a central role in helping Asarina secure the financial resources needed to reach this next crucial milestone. The planned Phase IIb study is an important next step in the clinical development of Sepranolone