Umeå-based Lipigon Pharmaceuticals has signed agreements with universities in Shanghai and Shenzhen to develop a new drug that can potentially reduce the number of deaths linked to Covid-19.
“Right now there are very few treatments available for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), which can be fatal to some Covid-19 patients. The standard treatment is oxygen and the use of respirators. We hope to change that,” says Lipogon’s CEO, Stefan K Nilsson.
It has been widely reported in the media that one of the main dangers of Covid-19 is that it causes the immune system to run amok. This can result in the life-threatening condition ARDS, also known as shock lung, in which patients experience shortness of breath due to inflammation caused by fluid leaking into the smallest parts of the lung - the alveoli. This, in turn, prevents oxygen from being properly absorbed, and only a respirator can help relieve the condition.
Now Lipigon Pharmaceuticals has signed an agreement with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Shenzhen to test whether one of Lipigon's drug candidates, which blocks a protein that is very active in ARDS and other types of lung infections, is an effective treatment.
“The treatment can be beneficial for Covid-19 patients as well as for those who suffer from seasonal flu because it works in the same way. It might also provide relief for those suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). If our treatment works it can be significant for millions of patients every year,” says Stefan K Nilsson.
His hope is that the research will allow Lipigon to start human trials of its drug candidate sooner.
“Nanyang Technological University is a world leader in this field and this is a fantastic opportunity for us to work with them,” says Stefan K Nilsson.
Lipigon, which is located at Umeå Biotech Incubator, specialises in drugs for lipid-related diseases, i.e. diseases caused by irregularities when fats are processed in the body. This also includes the protein ANGPTL4, which not only regulates blood fats but also affects the body's vascular cells and their ability to retain fluid. This is believed to have an active role in ARDS and therefore also Covid-19. The company recently signed a major agreement with the Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed company HitGen to develop drug candidates that can treat lipid disorders and cardiovascular disease. It also raised SEK 16.6 million in a new share issue last summer.
For more information please contact:
Stefan K Nilsson, CEO, Lipigon
+46 70-578 17 68
Lipigon develops new treatments for patients with lipid-related diseases. The company benefits from 50 years of lipid research conducted at Umeå University in northern Sweden. Our primary focus is orphan drugs and niche indications. Lipigon's pipeline contains a total of three active programs; an RNA-based therapeutic program called ‘Lipisense’, a gene therapy program together with Combigene AB (plc) and a small molecule program in collaboration with HitGen.
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.