The Swedish pharmaceutical development company Adenovir Pharma has raised SEK 10 million via a rights issue to fund completion of an ongoing clinical phase II study for treatment of infectious eye disease and to prepare for exit. Caused by adenoviruses, millions of people are infected every year by epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC). There are currently no effective antiviral treatments available. A clinical phase I study among 48 healthy volunteers showed that the drug candidate is safe and well tolerated. Previously, Adenovir Pharma received a grant from VINNOVA - Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems to develop a second generation drug candidate for treatment of EKC.
The drug candidate, APD-209, takes a different and unique approach to treating the virus. If successfully developed, it could become the first effective antiviral treatment of EKC and it could solve a major medical problem. The double-blind randomized clinical phase II study started at eye clinics in Sweden and Germany in the beginning of 2014 and is estimated to be completed in 2014. In total the study may include up to 130 patients. A clinical phase I study among 48 healthy volunteers showed that the drug candidate is safe and well tolerated.
“We are very pleased that our investors are so supportive and clearly share our satisfaction at the very good progress this project is making. The capital injection will be used for completion of the ongoing clinical phase II study and to prepare to search for a partner. Our goal is to exit in 2015,” says Björn Dellgren, CEO and Project leader of Adenovir Pharma.
External ocular infections caused by adenoviruses are among the most common eye infections worldwide. Conjunctivitis accounts for a large proportion of patient visits to ophthalmologists. Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC), which is caused by adenoviruses, is a serious and highly-contagious disease. Globally, EKC affects millions of people every year. EKC occurs sporadically and epidemically and is endemic in many regions. EKC is particularly problematic in Japan where there are more than one million cases of EKC each year. The economic and social costs of community EKC epidemics are high. Work places and public institutions, such as schools and day care centers, must be closed when the outbreak of an EKC epidemic is detected. Many productive hours are lost each year as a consequence of the disease. EKC is recognized as a major health problem in affected regions. A pharmaceutical therapy that can be used both to treat EKC and to prevent the spread of infection is highly desirable for affected patients, for those who come into contact with such patients, and for treating physicians. Currently, there are no approved treatments. Patients with EKC receive no medical therapy other than for symptomatic relief.
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About Adenovir Pharma AB
Adenovir Pharma is a project company that is part of the life science incubator P.U.L.S. AB, based in Helsingborg, Sweden (www.pulsinvest.se). Other project companies of P.U.L.S. are AcuCort, Glactone Pharma, Laccure, LIDDS and Oncorena. Adenovir Pharma is developing proprietary technology for new antiviral pharmaceutical solutions that can be used in the treatment of infectious eye diseases. The initial development was carried out by virology researchers at Umeå University and chemists from the Department of Organic Chemistry at Lund University in collaboration with P.U.L.S. AB. Several highly-qualified external service providers who specialize in pharmaceutical development have been involved in the development work. The importance of the research carried out at Umeå University on adenovirus receptor molecules, which forms the basis for the development of the new drug, has featured in the prestigious journal Nature Medicine and in the equally high-ranking journals Nature Reviews Drug Discovery and Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Adenovir Pharma is developing a new drug in the form of eye drops for the treatment of EKC.
P.U.L.S. (Partners for Development Investments in Life Sciences) acts as an incubator and financier for early projects in life science, mainly pharmaceuticals. The goal is to generate attractive projects for the industry to acquire. The company was founded 2002 and this far nin project companies are started of which two successfully have been divested and one terminated. The P.U.L.S. organization consists of an operative part and approximately thirty partners with extensive experience from research, development and commercialization in life science. The business model relies on early engagement and close collaboration with the innovator. P.U.L.S. provides capital and drives the medical and commercial development of the project companies. P.U.L.S. has its headquarters in Helsingborg, Sweden.