The new SmiLe company ApoGlyx has raised €0.6 million in a rights issue, with Almi Invest providing half of the funding and the rest coming from private investors. The capital injection will go to preclinical trials and continued development of the company’s aquaporin inhibitor – a new first-in-class group of compounds that can prevent organ damage in serious medical conditions.
The Nobel Prize-winning discovery of aquaporins serves as the basis for ApoGlyx’s operations. Their research has shown that a group of compounds that act as aquaporin inhibitors could potentially prevent serious organ damage associated with severe inflammation, which could revolutionize treatment for many diseases. The company is now focusing on developing a treatment for acute pancreatitis, a sudden inflammation of the pancreas that leads to tissue death in severe cases.
Acute pancreatitis is common in the developed world, with about 350 cases per million inhabitants annually and a nearly 20% mortality rate in its severe form, which is caused by organ failure – especially acute lung failure. The same complication occurs in certain Covid-19 patients. Current therapies do not offer any option that is specific enough to effectively help patients.
The next step for the company is to identify which biomarkers will be used, through sampling and analysis, to find the patients who will benefit most from ApoGlyx’s future drugs.
“I'm thrilled that we qualified for the SmiLe incubator program and look forward to all the opportunities that being in SmiLe’s environment will offer, including meeting experts and other startup companies. Professional coaching by SmiLe’s business development experts will be invaluable to help us build a strong and successful company,” says Michael Rützler, CEO of ApoGlyx and one of the researchers developing the discovery.
“We are delighted to welcome ApoGlyx to SmiLe. ApoGlyx is a company that ties in very well with SmiLe’s strong tradition of startup companies in the pharmaceutical and biotech group. Our expertise and experience will help them along the way to become a successful company, and they will also have access to SmiLe’s well-equipped laboratories,” says Ebba Fåhraeus, CEO of SmiLe Incubator.
The company’s discovery can also be used to prevent organ damage in other serious conditions, such as sepsis, as well as in diabetes treatment and as malaria prophylaxis.
Additional information about ApoGlyx:
The company’s operations are based on the groundbreaking discovery of aquaporins by Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Agre of Johns Hopkins University Medical School and extensive scientific research carried out in collaboration with the founders of ApoGlyx, including SmiLe’s alumni company Red Glead Discovery in Lund, to establish that aquaporins are important pharmaceutical targets for the treatment of life-threatening diseases.
ApoGlyx works in close collaboration with other renowned researchers, including Professor Giuseppe Calamita at the University of Bari Aldo Maro, Italy, Professor Christoph Thiemermann at the William Harvey Research Institute and Queen Mary University of London, and Professor Roland Andersson at Lund University.
The founders of the company are Michael Rützler, CEO of ApoGlyx, Per Kjellbom at Lund University, Søren Nielsen, former CEO of Action Pharma and Red Glead Discovery.
SmiLe Incubator is a life science business incubator based in Medicon Village in Lund, Sweden. SmiLe helps entrepreneurs commercialize their ideas. There are currently 25 companies in SmiLe which, together with alumni companies, have attracted more than EUR 460 million in venture capital to date since 2014. SmiLe offers excellent business coaching, a broad international network of contacts and a dynamic community, as well as well-equipped laboratories which is unique of its kind in Sweden. SmiLe is a non-profit organization and receives basic funding from Region Skåne, Lund Municipality, Lund University and Medicon Village. SmiLe´s sponsors are Agilent, Sparbanken Skåne, Awa, Høiberg, Prevas, Setterwalls, Zacco, Aqilion. SmiLe’s listed alumni companies have a market capitalization of EUR 1,3 billion (Q1 2021). www.smileincubator.life