Lipigon Pharmaceuticals, which is based in Umeå in northern Sweden, is a clinical-stage biotech company specializing in the development of drugs for disorders of the body’s blood lipids.
Leaderna will be responsible for the development and commercialization of Lipisense® in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau (collectively known as Greater China). Lipigon will retain global development and commercial rights outside of Greater China.
As part of the agreement, Lipigon will receive an upfront payment and could also receive milestone payments up to a total value of USD 91 million (approximately SEK 970 million).
Important with external validation
Stefan K Nilsson says the initial payment is a significant sum for the small Umeå company and its eight employees.
”It’s great to have the money coming in – even though it is ‘Biotech bucks’ and much of it will be paid out in the future for each milestone we reach. There may, in addition, be royalties due above the USD 91 million”.
He adds: “The most important thing is that we get external validation for our drug candidate. Leaderna has done its due diligence with its knowledgeable team of people, which means our work is recognized and validated”.
Lipigon was founded in 2010 and was a ‘virtual’ company until 2016, when external investors stepped in and enabled Lipigon to hire its own staff.
“Real feather in our cap”
The company’s drug development work focuses on four key projects designed to help patients with disorders caused by the body’s handling of fats. 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. Lipisense® is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1 study of healthy volunteers.
”The money from the agreement with Leaderna provides capital for both our Lipisense® program and the other projects we are developing. This provides us with a cash buffer after the completion of Phase II, and it is a real feather in our cap to reach such a substantial agreement even before the end of Phase I”, says Stefan K Nilsson, who continues:
”The next step in the development of Lipisense® is the completion of the Phase I study within a few weeks. Following this milestone our goal is to achieve a seamless and smooth transition into Phase II.”
Leaderna excited about the agreement
Dr. Jinqiao Wan, Chairman and CEO of Leaderna, also commented on the new agreement.
“Targeting ANGPTL4 with organ-specificity holds great potential in the treatment of lipid metabolism disorders, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Lipisense®, the world’s first liver-targeted oligonucleotide molecule to enter Phase I clinical trials, has demonstrated excellent development potential. We are excited to closely collaborate with Lipigon to accelerate the clinical development progress of Lipisense®, reduce clinical risks and continuously explore the clinical value of Lipisense®”.
He concluded: “We believe that the collaboration between Leaderna and Lipigon will leverage the strengths of both parties in the field of small nucleotide drug development, benefiting patients worldwide and particularly in the Greater China region at an early stage”.
For more information, please contact:
Stefan K. Nilsson, CEO, Lipigon
Phone: +46 705 78 17 68
Lipigon Pharmaceuticals AB is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing drugs with new, unique mechanisms of action (first-in-class) for diseases caused by disorders in the body’s handling of fats. The company’s operations are based on over 50 years of lipid research at Umeå University, Sweden.
Lipigon’s initial focus is on orphan drugs and niche indications, but in the longer term the company has the possibility to target broader indications such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Lipigon’s pipeline includes four active projects: the RNA drug Lipisense® for the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia, an RNA drug for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome, a gene therapy treatment for the rare disease lipodystrophy in collaboration with Combigene AB (publ) and a small molecule program for the treatment of dyslipidemia in collaboration with HitGen (Inc).
Discover more at www.lipigon.se.