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 (IBD). Girtab complements Aqilion’s pipeline well and strengthens the company’s strategic focus on drug targets and programs with great potential in inflammatory diseases, it states.
A clinical drug candidate
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, describes the company. 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 Fredriksson.
Photo of Sarah Fredriksson: Aqilion