Biotech Faron boosts board ahead of key year for drug trials

Biotech start-up Faron preparing itself for a pivotal year in 2018 after poaching an executive from FTSE 100 giant AstraZeneca.
Faron, a Finland-based drug maker listed on London’s junior Aim exchange, is expected to produce key clinical trial data for treating acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a deadly complication of flu, in the first half of the year.
The company is also ­developing a promising next-generation cancer drug designed to work by boosting the patient’s immune system to fight off the deadly disease.
The readout from the phase three trial of drug Traumakine for the treatment of ARDS will be an important milestone for the firm. Traumakine reduced mortality by 80pc in an earlier phase two trial.?
It is a drug with blockbuster potential – meaning it could ultimately hit $1bn (?750m) in sales – and would be the world’s only approved treatment for ARDS.
Faron poached Juhana Heinonen from AstraZeneca earlier this month as its new chief operating officer to help prepare Traumakine for commercialisation.
Biotech Faron boosts board ahead of key year for drug trials

There are more than 300,000 cases or ARDS a year in Europe and US

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Symptoms of ARDS include inflammation and persistent degradation of the lungs. It is often an underlying cause of flu deaths.
It is also a common cause of respiratory failure in ­intensive care units, with a mortality rate of 30-45pc. There are approximately 300,000-plus annual cases in Europe and the US.
Julie Simmonds, analyst at Panmure Gordon, says Traumakine has “potential for premium pricing” given the lack of ARDS treatments.
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