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CEO Letter


Aqilion focuses on developing new innovative pharmaceuticals that can relieve and prevent chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Inflammation is one of the body’s defense mechanisms against harmful factors such as bacteria, viruses or mechanical damage to cells. But sometimes the regulation of inflammation does not function as it should. This can lead to a number of serious conditions. Learn more about our therapeutic focus areas.

The Regulus program is ready for phase 1 (AQ280)

Aqilion acquired Regulus, a drug program with great potential in chronic inflammation, from LEO Pharma in December 2021. As soon as we signed the agreement, intensive efforts were initiated to transfer data, substance and knowledge about the program to Aqilion. During the spring, we completed the process, while simultaneously preparing for the first clinical study with the drug candidate AQ280 by engaging a contract research company and adding specialists in various areas of expertise in clinical development to the Aqilion team. The goal is to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial on healthy volunteers in Great Britain during the third quarter this year. Initiating clinical development is a strategically important milestone for Aqilion.

The Alnitak program shows excellent preclinical results

The Alnitak program has made rapid progress over the past six months, with excellent results. External parties, who have shown great interest in Alnitak, have consistently shown a positive response to the data we have presented, for which reason we have intensified the business development process. Aqilion has the explicit strategy of engaging in a dedicated process, early during development, to attract the pharmaceutical companies with the best prospects of running the clinical development programs. Alnitak is proof that this strategy has yielded results, confirming a genuine interest in drugs that inhibit TAK1 and its use in the field of chronic inflammation. The positive response from external interests is confirmation that we have so far developed a high-quality innovative program.

The Girtab program delivers a clinical drug candidate, AQ312

We recently added a new program to our pipeline. It is gratifying that the company’s in-house research has successfully provided another program focused on chronic inflammation that serves as a complement to Aqilion’s pipeline from a strategic perspective. The program, known as Girtab, has been under development for the past three years at Aqilion and we own all intellectual property rights. The aim of the Girtab program is to develop a new treatment for chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). We currently have a clinical drug candidate, AQ312, which will be tested in safety studies as part of a preclinical development program. The active substance is a small molecule drug candidate that exerts its action by helping the body’s innate immune system to reduce inflammation in the intestines. The substance acts on the aryl hydrocarbon receptors (AhR) of the active T cells in the immune system. Girtab has a different mechanism of action compared with both Alnitak and Regulus; the active substance in Girtab is more immunomodulatory in nature than both Alnitak and Regulus, which tend to directly inhibit the inflammatory process.

Aqilion at BIO 2022 in San Diego

In June, Aqilion will participate in the global industry meeting BIO 2022 in San Diego, in order to introduce our three programs – Regulus, Girtab and Alnitak – to future potential partners. We look forward to this opportunity to present an interesting pipeline with innovative programs in different phases of development, all clearly focused on chronic inflammation. To learn more about all our four programs, please see Aqilion’s pipeline.

We can conclude that the strategy change we made a couple of years ago has begun to yield results. There is of course some left to prove, but it is very gratifying so far. We undoubtedly have a lot to look forward to.

Helsingborg, Sweden, on May 27, 2022

Sarah Fredriksson, CEO and President, AQILION AB