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Aqilion strengthens its pipeline with a drug candidate in chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, IBD

Aqilion has nominated Girtab, a program from the company’s research activities, for further preclinical and clinical development. The goal of Girtab is to develop a new treatment for chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. Girtab complements Aqilion’s pipeline well and strengthens the company’s strategic focus on drug targets and programs with great potential in inflammatory diseases.

The development of Girtab has come so far that there is now a clinical drug candidate, AQ312, to be tested in safety studies in a preclinical development program. In parallel, the development of a dosage form intended for oral treatment with local effect in the intestine is underway. The active substance is a small molecule drug candidate that works by helping the body’s own immune system to suppress the inflammation in the intestine. The substance acts on aryl hydrocarbon receptors (AhR) on the T-cells that are active in the immune system.

“It is gratifying that our internal research activities are delivering yet another program in chronic inflammation that also complements Aqilion’s pipeline well from a strategic perspective. This is proof that we have succeeded in achieving the goals that we set three years ago,” says Sarah Fredriksson, CEO of Aqilion.

Aqilion has developed Girtab in-house and owns all intellectual property rights. In a seven-week study in a disease model, the drug candidate has shown good efficacy both in terms of mechanism of action by activating AhR and by having a modulating effect on the immune system. Treatment with AQ312 was well tolerated and met the primary endpoint of the study.

“Girtab differs from the other programs in our pipeline both from a biological perspective, in terms of the mechanism of action, and from a business development perspective as it has such a clear focus on inflammatory bowel diseases. Girtab thus strengthens our offering without creating internal competition between the programs for the interest of future partners. We look forward to presenting Girtab externally at the same time as we develop the program towards clinical studies in ulcerative colitis as the first indication in IBD,” says Sarah Fredriksson.

For more information, please contact:
Sarah Fredriksson, CEO, AQILION AB, + 46 (0)70 261 4575,

About chronic inflammation of the intestine
Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is a collective term for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In addition, so-called unclassified colitis occurs. Common to the diseases is that they are characterized by the body’s immune system attacking its own intestinal mucosa, which causes a chronic inflammation. Diarrhea is the most common symptom of IBD. Abdominal pain, bloody stools, weight loss and fever may also occur. As a rule, the disease occurs with relapses with high disease activity, followed by longer periods of low or non-existent disease activity. Depending on the severity, the relapses may require special treatment. The cause is unknown, but a combination of heredity and the body’s own immune system is considered to play an important role, as is the environment in the intestine.

About Aqilion
Aqilion is a biotech company that focuses on developing new innovative treatments for diseases caused by chronic inflammation and dysfunctional immune reactions such as autoimmune diseases. The company is mainly active in the early phases of drug discovery, from idea to early clinical development.

Aqilion combines its experience from major pharmaceutical companies with the drive and entrepreneurship of small growth companies. With solid experience of business development in innovative biotech and pharmaceutical companies, Aqilion’s experienced team and board have successfully shepherded drugs all the way from discovery to market.

AQILION AB (publ) is a Swedish public limited company headquartered in Helsingborg, Sweden.