When we look back at 2020, it is likely that for some time to come we will mainly remember the ongoing pandemic and the tragic losses that it caused. That is how it is for me, but as CEO of a development company like Aqilion I can thankfully look back at a year when, despite everything, we were able to fulfill our plans without delays or increased costs.
At the end of 2019, Aqilion decided to focus on chronic inflammation and we are now running three innovative internal and completely new projects that made major advances during the year. In the fourth quarter in particular, Alhena and Alnitak dominated the positive trend in our operations. Aqilion’s most recent new project, Polaris, also made great strides forward in the hunt for drug candidates for a new target protein that we hope to be able to be the first to present. We will continue to carry out our activities at a high level of intensity in 2021.
In late 2020, on several occasions we presented drug targets and new data in our Alnitak project, which is in the research phase of development. The presentations have clearly stimulated the interest and curiosity of many of our potential future partners. I consider this to be an important acknowledgement that our choice of indication is of interest and that the project data maintain a good standard of quality and innovation. We look forward to continuing to present new data in 2021 and thereby step up the pace of our business development process.
The two project companies, which are in a later phase of development, made good progress in the fourth quarter. Oncorena reached an extremely important milestone in late 2020 when it submitted an application to the Swedish Medical Products Agency for permission to initiate clinical trials in advanced kidney cancer. Regarding Laccure, Aqilion’s team is actively working on the project and toward the end of the year we could conclude that the new and improved production process will provide a stable product, even over time. In addition, the new production process is industrially scalable and cost effective. Backed by the results, a search is underway to find a partner who can take over the baton and complete the job and then successfully launch the product, which fills an important unmet medical need among women suffering from bacterial vaginosis. If all of this succeeds, it will be an important future milestone. Aqilion has a holding in its previous project company AcuCort, whose product became an approved medication in Sweden during the fall. Patents have been granted in additional territories and plans are underway to launch AcuCort’s drug ISICORT®.
I would also like to thank the specialists who work in our project on a day-to-day basis in a number of laboratories all over the world. It is important for us to work closely with them, as well as to inspire and retain a commitment to Aqilion’s operations. In all, there are up to 60 team members of the team at any given time. It is a privilege to work in an organization which simultaneously increased both its efficiency and its creativity in such a short time. In summary, together we have set the stage for a successful future for Aqilion.
Sarah Fredriksson, PhD
Chief Executive Officer, AQILION AB