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New publication concerning EKC − a very contagious eye infection caused by adenoviruses

Pressmeddelande   •   Jan 21, 2016 06:30 CET

A Swedish research group at St. Erik Eye Hospital, Stockholm, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, and Umeå University has published scientific discoveries concerning the serious infectious eye disease EKC (epidemic keratoconjunctivitis) in the prestigious journal Acta Ophthalmologica. The researchers have shown that patients exhibit more severe symptoms and clinical findings in EKC caused by some specific adenoviruses.

Patients who had been infected by adenoviruses that bind to a specific receptor in the eye, sialic acid-binding receptors, exhibited more severe symptoms and clinical findings compared to adenoviruses that do not bind to this receptor. Initially, only a few patients had corneal opacities, but after two weeks the majority of the participants in the study had developed such opacities. The study concludes that there is an unmet medical need for treatment of adenovirus-caused ocular infections, particularly infections caused by adenoviruses of the sialic acid-binding type, to relieve acute symptoms and prevent the occurrence of corneal opacities affecting vision.

“EKC is a widely spread disease that affects millions of people every year all over the world. Also in Sweden we see many cases every year. Today we are not able to offer the patients any effective treatment and we therefore hope that a drug candidate can be further developed to meet the patients’ need for treatment”, said Associate Professor Carl-Gustaf Laurell, physician and principal investigator of the patient study.

“The publication occurs at a convenient time for Adenovir Pharma and our ongoing phase 2-trial, which is in its final stage. The results provide further scientific support for the medical usefulness of an effective drug for the treatment of EKC. We are preparing for a divestment of the company and new scientific data is something that potential future partners see as positive,” said Björn Dellgren, CEO and project leader at Adenovir Pharma.

New medical treatment under development
EKC (epidemic keratoconjunctivitis) affects millions of people every year all over the world and can lead to sight impairment. Today there is no effective antiviral treatment for EKC. Adenovir Pharma develops a new and innovative drug against the serious and very contagious eye disease EKC. A double-blind randomized phase 2 study is in progress at several eye clinics in Sweden and Germany. Adenovir Pharma has previously demonstrated in a phase 1 study that this drug candidate, APD-209, is well tolerated. VINNOVA, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, has granted Adenovir Pharma funding for the pharmaceutical development of a second generation drug, APD-514, against EKC.

For more information, please contact:
Björn Dellgren, CEO/project leader, Adenovir Pharma AB, bjorn.dellgren@adenovir.com or
+46 (0)707 455 005.

About the publication
The publication “More symptoms with sialic receptor-positive adenovirus in epidemic keratoconjunctivities” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26523611.

About epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC)
External ocular infections caused by adenoviruses are among the most common eye infections worldwide, affecting millions of people every year. EKC is a serious and very contagious eye infection caused by adenoviruses that can lead to sight impairment for a long time after the acute phase. Both the cornea and the conjunctiva are affected and the disease is very painful in the acute phase. EKC occurs all over the world but is most common in densely populated areas in Asia, where the disease is considered to be a major health problem. In Japan alone one million people are affected by eye infections caused by adenoviruses every year. The patients and persons in their closest environment must often be isolated during the acute phase. The patients are generally on sick leave. During epidemics in Asia it happens that schools and workplaces must be closed. The costs for society in the form of lost working days and production are consequently high. Between 20 and 50 percent of those affected suffer sight impairment that can persist for months and in some cases for several years. Sporadic outbreaks occur as epidemics in many regions. Currently there are no effective drugs against EKC and the persons affected thus get no treatment.

About Adenovir
Adenovir Pharma AB is a project company within P.U.L.S. AB, a life science development company, based in Helsingborg, Sweden. Adenovir has a proprietary technology platform and is developing an antiviral drug for the treatment of a serious and very contagious eye infection, epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC).The initial development was carried out in close collaboration with professors Göran Wadell and Niklas Arnberg at the virology laboratory at Umeå University, in Sweden, and researchers at the Department of Organic Chemistry at Lund University, in Sweden, professors Olov Sterner and Ulf Ellervik, together with PULS and a number of specialized drug development companies. Discoveries on which the development of the drug candidate APD-209 is based have been published in the prestigious journals Nature Medicine and Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. The importance of this discovery has furthermore been highlighted in the equally high-ranking journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. The drug candidate has proved to be well tolerated and safe in preclinical and clinical phase 1 studies and is now being tested clinically in a phase 2 study. The new second generation drug, APD-514, has been developed in collaboration with professors Niklas Arnberg and Mikael Elofsson at Umeå University and has been shown to have high potency, good pharmaceutical properties and to be well tolerated in pre-clinical studies. Read more at www.adenovir.com.

P.U.L.S. (Partners för Utvecklingsinvesteringar inom Life Sciences) är ett unikt utvecklingsbolag inom life science. PULS investerar i tidiga projekt och aktivt utvecklar dem i nära samarbete med innovatörerna hela vägen från idé till attraktiva projekt för industrin. Sedan 2002 har PULS startat tio projektbolag och avyttrat tre, varav ett är börsintroducerat (LIDDS). PULS har sitt huvudkontor i Helsingborg. PULS pågående projekt är: AcuCort, Adenovir Pharma, Glactone Pharma, Laccure, Oncorena och Trophea. www.pulsinvest.se.

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