Lipigon Pharmaceuticals was established in 2010 as a virtual company. In 2016, external investors intervened, allowing the company to expand its operations and hire its own team. In the spring of 2021, Lipigon achieved a significant milestone by being listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm stock exchange. Additionally, in the spring of this year, the company successfully completed a phase 1 clinical study for their promising drug candidate, Lipisense®.
“This marks a significant milestone in the development of our drug candidate, Lipisense®. We are delighted with the positive safety profile observed in both the SAD and MAD cohorts. The Phase I study’s data is very promising overall: our substance has proven safe and well-tolerated, and we have demonstrated ‘target engagement,’ confirming that our molecule effectively influences the target protein,” says Stefan K. Nilsson, CEO of Lipigon.
Lipisense® is an investigational antisense medicine designed to reduce the production of ANGPTL4 protein in the liver. ANGPTL4 has a strong genetic association with plasma lipid levels and related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
“Our drug candidate aims to reduce the levels of triglycerides and, ultimately, prevent diseases. Initially, our primary focus is on acute pancreatitis, but we have future plans to explore its potential impact on cardiovascular diseases, blood vessel plaque formation, type 2 diabetes, and potentially even conditions like fatty liver disease,” elaborates Stefan K. Nilsson.
In June, Lipigon achieved another significant milestone by securing a groundbreaking development and licensing agreement valued at nearly SEK 1 billion with Leaderna Therapeutics Ltd (Leaderna). Under this agreement, Leaderna will handle the development and commercialization of Lipisense® in Greater China, encompassing mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau.
“This agreement confirms the value of Lipisense® and solidifies Lipigon’s leading position in the field of ANGPTL4 drug development. Our collaboration with Leaderna will enable us to fully explore the potential of Lipisense®,” says Stefan K. Nilsson.
Expanded laboratory facilities in the new premises
Lipigon has previously occupied premises belonging to Umeå Biotech Incubator (UBI) since 2019, where they rented office and laboratory space. Now, Lipigon has moved to its own premises at Tvistevägen 48 in Umeå after the property’s landlord, Balticgruppen, renovated the new facility according to Lipigon’s exacting specifications.
“The most significant change lies in our expanded laboratory facilities, which now offer at least three times the space we had before,” says Stefan K. Nilsson.
Laboratory researcher Ingela Bergqvist says she is delighted with the new premises. “The increased space allows us to work more efficiently. Our equipment is now permanently set up and ready, eliminating the need to rearrange furniture or clear laboratory benches between different tests and procedures.”
The office move sets the stage for the next important step in Lipigon’s history:
Planning for phase II clinical trials
“We are now planning for phase II clinical trials. We will study Lipisense® in the most relevant patient cohorts, which is very attractive from a value-creating perspective”, says Stefan K. Nilsson.
Twenty-five patients with significantly elevated triglyceride levels will be recruited, providing a clear assessment of Lipisense®’s potential in lowering triglycerides in this group. The drug material produced for the Phase I trial will also suffice for the Phase II trial. The involvement of Sweden’s two largest lipid-related disease treatment centers ensures the swift recruitment of patients.
“We will investigate both safety and treatment efficacy, which will be of great value for potential licensing agreements. Additionally, alongside the Lipisense® project, Lipigon has three other projects that can all achieve value-enhancing milestones in the coming year,” states Stefan K. Nilsson.
Focus on four key projects
Lipigon develops new treatments for patients with lipid-related diseases, with the vision to enhance and extend the lives of those affected by high blood lipid levels. The company focuses on four key projects, with Lipisense® being the most advanced. The objective is to build a balanced portfolio that includes both clinical and early-stage research initiatives.
Currently, Lipigon Pharmaceuticals employs six full-time and two part-time staff members. If the company’s impressive development continues, it may need to expand its workforce in the future—something that was considered when planning the move. Given the company’s growth and the impressive results from its Phase I clinical study, more positive news is expected to emanate from Lipigon’s new offices in the months and years ahead.
Lipigon’s successful journey has only just begun—now it continues from a new purpose-built facility it can call home.