Aqilion identifies unique life science ideas that could potentially lead to new medications and refines them into commercially interesting projects for our customers, who represent the next step in the care chain. The choice of projects is the key to success for our business model.
At the end of 2019, we strengthened our portfolio with three innovative preclinical projects within the company’s focus area of inflammation, at the interface of oncology and immunology. Aqilion owns and runs the new projects completely under its own management. Alnitak is the project that has made the greatest progress, where we were able to show positive results for the molecules that were designed in-house during the period and we will now continue with the objective of presenting an advanced lead drug candidate in 2021. During the spring, one of our two pre-projects in inflammation also made rapid progress and if the remaining planned preliminary studies yield favorable results, we can begin a full-scale project at the end of the year. I look forward to when we can provide more details about the project and present data. This is not yet possible since we are being cautious to ensure good IP protection according to the company’s patent strategy. In summary, our internal project portfolio has progressed according to plan and we have generated completely new data that serve as the basis of our new IP families.
Laccure is developing a product to treat bacterial vaginosis. Laccure’s efforts to date regarding a new cost-effective and standardized production method have turned out well. Analyses of the method have continued during the summer, after which the objective is to find a new owner for the project. I can report that the work has made rapid progress and that both product management and our production partner, Recipharm, have followed an excellent comprehensive concept with a focus on a commercially advantageous project.
During the spring, the project company Oncorena completed the practical work associated with the complex follow-up toxicology studies that the company has conducted over the past 18 months. The results will be analyzed, after which Oncorena’s management plans to have an advisory meeting with the Swedish Medical Products Agency prior to submitting its application to conduct the first clinical study on patients with advanced kidney cancer. The outcome of the meeting will be an important gauge of the value of the project moving forward.
Our new strategy with wholly owned internal projects is clearly reflected in our earnings since all project costs are now recognized directly in profit or loss, rather than as investments in project companies, as previously. We are largely following our budgeted cost framework and have only made one minor budgeted investment in Laccure during the period. We have occasional delays in some parts of the ongoing projects, but we are well within our schedule, for which reason I do not feel that the ongoing pandemic is affecting planned activities to any significant degree.
I am pleased to report that we were able to welcome Torgeir Vaage as CFO in May. Torgeir will strengthen our team with knowledge and experience from early drug discovery at various Nordic companies. A strong team, an interesting project portfolio, committed owners and a clear vision for the future are the most important building blocks for our common goal of developing Aqilion into an attractive biotech company. We have already taken great strides in terms of formalities, teams, projects and restructuring. We continue to work with our innovative project portfolio to create attractive value and thus sustainability over time. I look forward to an eventful autumn with many parallel activities in both the internal pipeline and the project companies.
Helsingborg, Sweden, August 2020
CEO, AQILION AB