In November 2016, Deerfield led a Series A financing in Chondrial Therapeutics. Chondrial is an emerging biotechnology company focused on the treatment of rare mitochondrial diseases, such as Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA). Concurrent with our financing, Chondrial announced the licensing of a novel investigational technology, CTI-1601, for the treatment of FA from Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. (IURTC) and Wake Forest University Health Sciences. FA is a progressive disease that affects multiple body systems, particularly the brain and heart. FA is the most common ataxia in man and is caused by a deficiency of a key protein, frataxin, which is normally present in the mitochondria of all tissues.
Children and young adults progressively lose the ability to walk and speak, and their hearts become thick and weak, and can eventually fail. Discovered by Dr. Mark Payne while at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, CTI-1601 utilizes a carrier protein to deliver frataxin to the mitochondria where researchers believe it is processed to mature frataxin and becomes active in mitochondrial metabolism. In conjunction with Deerfield’s investment, Carole Ben-Maimon, MD, joined the company as CEO. Dr. Ben-Maimon brings to Chondrial more than 25 years of experience in research and development and biopharma management. Dr. Ben-Maimon joins Chondrial after serving as an advisor with Deerfield where she assisted in the evaluation of business and drug development plans in the brand and generic industry.