A research group at Umeå University has published scientific discoveries concerning a new drug candidate for the treatment of the serious eye disease EKC in the prestigious journal Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry.


The new drug candidate has been developed by the Swedish project company Adenovir Pharma. The company develops drugs against the contagious eye disease EKC (epidemic keratoconjunctivitis). One of the drugs is already being tested in phase 2. The publication concerns a second generation drug for the treatment of the disease, which affects millions of people every year and can cause sight impairment. Currently there is no effective treatment. VINNOVA, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, has granted the project funding for the pharmaceutical development of a second generation drug against EKC.

EKC is caused by adenoviruses that bind to a molecule on the surface of cells in the cornea and conjunctiva in the eye. The new drug candidate has been shown to block the virus from binding to and infecting these. It captures the disease-causing virus, thereby preventing infection. One significant advantage compared to other antiviral drugs is that it acts outside the cell, which minimizes the risk of developing viral resistance.

“The mechanism blocks virus particles, and by treating the early stages of the acute phase, you can remove all free viruses and the new viruses that are forming. This hopefully reduces symptoms, speeds up healing and eliminates attendant effects such as impaired vision, at the same time as the risk of infecting the patient’s other eye or family is reduced,” says Professor Mikael Elofsson at Umeå University.

”The new drug candidate has a unique mode of action and is very potent. It furthermore has long-time protection under a new patent. As we are now preparing for an exit, a divestment of the company, it is very positive to be able to offer also a promising second generation drug candidate, something that is favorably viewed by future partners,” says Professor Niklas Arnberg at Umeå University.

EKC affects millions of people every year all over the world and can lead to sight impairment. Today there is no effective antiviral treatment for EKC. It has previously been demonstrated that the drug candidate APD-209 is well tolerated and safe in a clinical phase 1 study with healthy subjects. A double-blind randomized phase 2 study with APD-209 is in progress at eye clinics in Sweden and Germany. VINNOVA has granted Adenovir Pharma funding for the pharmaceutical development of a second generation drug against EKC.

For more information, please visit: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2015/OB/c5ob01025j#!divAbstract.

For more information, please contact:
Björn Dellgren, CEO/project leader, Adenovir Pharma AB, bjorn.dellgren@adenovir.com or
+46 707 455 005.

About epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC)
External ocular infections caused by adenoviruses are among the most common eye infections worldwide, affecting millions of people every year. EKC is a serious and contagious eye infection caused by adenoviruses that can lead to sight impairment for a long time after the acute phase. Both the cornea and the conjunctiva are affected and the disease is very painful in the acute phase. EKC occurs all over the world but is most common in densely populated areas in Asia, where the disease is considered to be a major health problem. In Japan alone one million people are affected by eye infections caused by adenoviruses every year. The patients and persons in their closest environment must often be isolated during the acute phase. The patients are generally on sick leave. During epidemics in Asia it happens that schools and workplaces must be closed. The costs for society in the form of lost working days and production are consequently high. Between 20 and 50 percent of those affected suffer sight impairment that can persist for months and in some cases for several years. Sporadic outbreaks occur as epidemics in many regions. Currently there are no drugs against EKC and the persons affected thus get no treatment.

About Adenovir
Adenovir Pharma AB is a project company within P.U.L.S. AB, a life science development company, based in Helsingborg, Sweden. Adenovir has a proprietary technology platform and is developing an antiviral drug for the treatment of a serious eye infection, epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC).The initial development was carried out in close collaboration with professors Göran Wadell and Niklas Arnberg at the virology laboratory at Umeå University and researchers at the Department of Organic Chemistry at Lund University, professors Olov Sterner and Ulf Ellervik, together with PULS and a number of specialized drug development companies. Discoveries on which the development of the drug candidate APD-209 is based have been published in the prestigious journals Nature Medicine and Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. The importance of this discovery has furthermore been highlighted in the equally high-ranking journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. The drug candidate has proved to be well tolerated and safe in preclinical and clinical phase 1 studies and is now being tested clinically in a phase 2 study. The new second generation drug, APD-514, has been developed in collaboration with professors Niklas Arnberg and Mikael Elofsson at Umeå University and has been shown to have high potency, good pharmaceutical properties and to be well tolerated in pre-clinical studies. Read more at www.adenovir.com.

About PULS
P.U.L.S. AB (partners for development investments in life sciences) is a unique life science development company. PULS invests in early projects and actively develops them in close collaboration with the innovators, all the way from idea to projects attractive to the industry. Since 2002 PULS has started nine project companies and exited three, one of which, LIDDS, is listed. PULS is headquartered in Helsingborg, Sweden. PULS’ current projects are: AcuCort, Adenovir Pharma, Glactone Pharma, Laccure och Oncorena. Read more at www.pulsinvest.se.

P.U.L.S. (Partners för Utvecklingsinvesteringar inom Life Sciences) är ett unikt utvecklingsbolag inom life science. PULS investerar i tidiga projekt och aktivt utvecklar dem i nära samarbete med innovatörerna hela vägen från idé till attraktiva projekt för industrin. Sedan 2002 har PULS startat nio projektbolag och avyttrat tre, varav ett är börsintroducerat (LIDDS). PULS har sitt huvudkontor i Helsingborg. PULS pågående projekt är: AcuCort, Adenovir Pharma, Glactone Pharma, Laccure och Oncorena.www.pulsinvest.se.