Lipum AB Team
Teamet bakom Lipum AB. Från vänster: Ulf Björklund, Einar Pontén, Lennart Lundberg, Susanne Lindquist och Olle Hernell. Foto: Mattias Pettersson, Umeå universitet

After a thorough selection process, Lipum AB has been granted SEK 22 million from the EU’s Horizon 2020-initiative. This is a great leap forward for researchers who want to better quality of life for children and adults with chronic inflammatory diseases.

Lipum AB was founded in 2010 by researchers at Umeå University. The team in Lipum is working on developing a new kind of treatment to help children suffering from a painful form of rheumatism.

Fewer side-effects and effective pain relief for more people

Unlike today’s drugs against rheumatism, Lipum’s researchers focus on the protein bile salt-stimulated lipase (BSSL) to be blocked with a therapeutic antibody. Compared to today’s drugs, it does not impair the immune system to such a large extent and is therefore expected to have fewer side-effects.

“We have taken a completely unique approach to the treatment of autoimmune inflammation. We believe that there will be fewer and milder side-effects thanks to our solution.” says Dr Eniar Pontén, CEO at Lipum AB.

The project that will be financed by the EU funds will start on October 1, and Lipum plans to recruit three to four new employees who have experience in pharmaceutical development.

The grant of SEK 22 million also means that this small startup company from Umeå can start to prepare for so called toxicological tests and Phase I study in 2020. These constitute the first step in the clinical trials required to provide effective and safe medicine in the future. These are the tests that make new drugs so expensive to develop. For example, the cost for testing the drug in humans amount to at least SEK 150 million.

“If the clinical trials go well we will have a new biological drug by 2024,” says Dr Einar Pontén.

The Horizon money covers as much as 70 per cent of the project cost, the remaining costs will be paid for by investors, which is something that Lipum’s management is now working on securing.

Researchers focus on childhood arthritis

Early in the process the company’s research team identified a great need for drugs that treat juvenile idiopathic arthritis, commonly known as childhood rheumatism. It is therefore an important target group for the researchers involved. However, Lipum’s approach opens up opportunities for providing effective pain relief for both children and adults in the future.


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