Lipigon signs multi-million gene therapy deal
Life science company Lipigon Pharmaceuticals has signed an agreement for its gene therapy project with listed company CombiGene.
“If everything goes well this agreement could potentially be worth millions. But it also enables us to develop our business in the short term, not least because we can now employ highly competent staff in Umeå,” says Stefan K Nilsson, CEO of Lipigon.
Lipigon, which is located at the Umeå Biotech Incubator, develops medicines for lipid-related disorders, i.e. diseases caused by fat processing dysfunction. Of these the most well known is cholesterol and the role it plays in the development of cardiovascular disease, but fats can also contribute to various liver diseases, type 2 diabetes and a number of rare conditions.
Now an in-licensing and collaboration agreement has been signed with listed Nordic gene therapy company CombiGene for the treatment of the rare disease lipodystrophy.
Lipodystrophy is a disease that affects approximately 1 in 1,000,000 people, which means there are approximately 1,000 patients in Europe and the United States. The disease is characterised by a total or partial lack of functioning fat tissue, which leads to fat being stored in various organs. The liver in particular stores fat, which can lead to serious complications such as severe diabetes, acute pancreatitis, cardiovascular disease and inflammation of the liver.
There are very few treatments available on the market and these treatments are often ineffective. Lipigon and CombiGene hope to remedy this by breaking the vicious cycle of liver lipid accumulation and normalise liver lipid levels to restore normal liver function.
“This is a perfect collaboration for us. We can help improve treatment for patients with few or no treatment options while at the same time build up our expertise in drug development in general and gene therapy in particular,” says Stefan K Nilsson.
He continues: “Most of the work will be done by us here at Lipigon during the contract, which means we will be able to recruit skilled coworkers in Umeå. The agreement has the potential to be worth millions if development milestones and market launches are achieved. CombiGene is responsible for continued development costs, which means the agreement removes financial risk from Lipigon. Therefore we can focus resources on our other development programs, which are also at exciting stages of development.”
Jan Nilsson, CEO of CombiGene, is also delighted with the new agreement.
“This is an exciting project, where we will work very closely with Lipigon to ensure project continuity, utilize Lipigon's extensive expertise in lipodystrophy and access its large network.”
For more information, please contact:
Stefan K Nilsson, vd Lipigon
Lipigon was founded 2010 by leading lipid experts from Umeå University, Sweden. Our mission is to develop safe and efficient treatments for lipid related disorders in the orphan disease space where no or few approved treatments exist; thus, making a significant improvement in the quality of life and survival of these patients.
Umeå Biotech Incubator (UBI) is one of Sweden’s state-of-the-art business incubators within the life sciences. We help researchers to use their data to the benefit of patients and citizens, improving their health. We support and train entrepreneurs in the fields of pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and medical engineering, and act as a bridge between academia, medicine and the business community.