At the end of last year, Aptahem entered a consortium with Örebro University with the aim of evaluating new strategies to reduce inflammation, thrombosis and fibrosis in cardiovascular disease. Yesterday, the company was able to announce the first preliminary data from the project and these confirmed the anti-inflammatory and non-toxic properties of Aptahem’s drug candidate Apta-1. In addition, the data also indicated that the candidate may have a positive effect on inflammation in blood vessels.
Biotech Aptahem develops Apta-1 as an emergency drug for sepsis, a very serious condition that affects approximately 49 million people each year. Apta-1 is undergoing preclinical development, and studies so far have indicated a multifunctional profile, which may mean that the candidate has potential in areas other than sepsis. Apta-1 has shown the capacity to reduce the size of blocking blood cells, to have an inhibitory effect on a number of inflammatory factors, and studies also suggest that the coagulation process can also be addressed with Apta-1.
Collaboration with Örebro university
It is precisely Apta-1’s multifunctional profile that serves as a backdrop to the international research collaborations with Örebro University, pharmaceutical development company AnaMar AB and Canadian Dalhousie University, which began in December last year. The project – Novel Strategies to Reduce Inflammation, Thrombosis and Fibrosis in Cardiovascular Disease – runs over two years and has received funding of 2 million SEK from the Knowledge Foundation.
The aim of the project is to evaluate new strategies to reduce inflammation, thrombosis and fibrosis in cardiovascular disease. Aptahem supplies the project with Apta-1 substance and the research will, among other things, explore Apta-1’s potential in greater detail.
Studies at Örebro university
The project started in January this year, and the studies with Apta-1, which are conducted at the Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC) at Örebro University, have two purposes. First, they will investigate the role of Apta-1 in the process in which platelets form a plug that can either prevent bleeding or lead to clot formation. For such a plug to form, a balance in the blood is required as well as a complex interaction between the platelets and the endothelial cells of the vessel wall.
The second purpose is to study the effect of Apta-1 on inflammation in the blood vessels.
Positive preliminary results
Yesterday, Aptahem was quite satisifed when the project delivered its first preliminary results. The current data is based on an inflammation-based endothelial cell model and a model for studying how the platelets aggregate. According to the results, Apta-1 generally does not affect platelet aggregation, which is positive since this would otherwise increase the risk clot formation in the blood vessels.
Furthermore, when studying inflammation related to endothelial cells, Apta-1 was found to have an inhibitory effect on several proteins involved in the inflammatory process that leads to atherosclerotic plaques.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that the researchers also checked for cytotoxicity and found that Apta-1 does not induce any, which confirms the results from previous preclinical studies.
In a comment, Aptahem’s CEO Mikael Lindstam emphasised the importance of the results for Apta-1’s continued development:
»These are new important results which further confirm earlier studies in other systems showing Apta-1’s potential effects and unique function on, for example, vessel damage in sepsis. This brings deeper understanding of how Apta-1 acts, and is important in the future planning of the clinical programme.«
In a next step, the preliminary results will be followed up with a much larger study. The work continues after the summer holidays when the verification and development of the studies with Apta-1 in cardiovascular models will be expanded.
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