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Double Success for University spin-outs

24 January 2013


Fusion IP, the university IP commercialisation company that turns world class research into business has announced key achievements from two Cardiff spin-outs, Asalus and Diurnal.

Asalus, a spin-out company founded on the innovative research work of Dr Neil Warren, from the School of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education has successfully completed a ‘first-in-man’ trial of its lead product UltravisionTM, a revolutionary electrosurgical smoke clearing system for use in laparoscopic surgery.

This is a key milestone for the company which recently announced it had raised £1.25 million in a funding round. This funding will enable Asalus to complete product development and apply for regulatory approval to launch the product in 2013.                         

The randomised, controlled comparative study was the first use of the UltravisionTM device in patients, with the dual aims of assessing safety and performance. The trial assessed the use of UltravisionTM in 30 participants undergoing scheduled laparoscopic gallbladder removal.

The results demonstrated that UltravisionTM was effective in maintaining a clear visual field throughout the laparoscopic procedure.  This was achieved without the need to deflate the abdomen or release smoke produced during surgery into the operating theatre environment. 

Dominic Griffiths, MD of Asalus, said: "Maintaining a clear visual field during laparoscopic surgery remains a key unmet surgical need.  The clinical trial results demonstrate that Ultravision is a simple yet highly effective means of achieving this. The feedback from surgeons has been extremely encouraging.  Ultravision will help them undertake complex operations as safely as possible whilst at the same time reducing the long-term exposure of the theatre team to surgical smoke".  

UltravisionTM is one product in a range of laparoscopic surgery devices being developed by Asalus.


Another University spin-out, Diurnal has also recorded a milestone. The company, which is developing a novel approach to drug delivery that will help patients suffering from reduced levels of the key hormone cortisol (hydrocortisone) has successfully enrolled the first patient into CATCH (Chronocort® As Treatment for Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia) Phase 2 trial.

Chronocort® is a modified release therapy that delivers hydrocortisone in a manner that mimics the body’s natural 24 hour hormone cycle. This approach has the potential to significantly improve the lives of patients suffering from diseases due to cortisol deficiency: congenital adrenal hyperplasia and adrenal insufficiency, each of which require life-long treatment.

The CATCH trial is being run by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Maryland, USA with an estimated completion date of mid-2013.

Martin Whitaker, Chief Executive Officer, at Diurnal Ltd, said: "Diurnal is delighted to announce the successful start of the CATCH study.  The Chronocort® programme remains a key focus for Diurnal and, if the results from the current trial are positive, we expect to progress the product to late stage clinical trials in Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia and Adrenal Insufficiency."   

The University signed a 10-year year agreement with Fusion IP for the exclusive right to commercialise all of the University owned intellectual property, through the creation of spin-out companies.

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