HELSINKI, November 16, 2022. Aplagon Oy (Aplagon), the Finnish pharmaceutical development company developing first-in-class vasculoprotective antithrombotic agents (APACs) to treat vascular injury related blood vessel occlusions and tissue damage, today announced that it had signed an EIC Accelerator grant agreement (Grant Agreement) with the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA).
Under the Grant Agreement, Aplagon will receive up to EUR 2.1 million grant funding, representing 70% of the total project costs, for the execution of its EIC Accelerator APAC-ON project. APAC-ON focuses on early clinical studies of Aplagon’s lead pharmaceutical agent, APAC, in advanced peripheral arterial occlusive disease / critical limb ischemia (PAOD/CLI) patients in Europe. In addition, under the EIC Accelerator blended finance programme, Aplagon is eligible to receive up to EUR 7.0 million in direct equity investments from the EIC Fund.
Aki Prihti, CEO of Aplagon, said: “We are highly excited about the EIC Accelerator funding and grateful for the European Innovation Council for enabling our development program in advanced PAOD/CLI patients. There is a major unmet need for new effective and safe therapies in this indication, and APAC has the potential to provide a new therapy option for these patients.”
More than 200 million patients suffer from PAOD, which is a serious chronic cardiovascular condition caused by inflammation, atherosclerosis and thrombosis (blood clot formation), leading to an impaired and eventually full occlusion of blood flow to the lower limbs. An estimated 30 million patients worldwide and 6-7 million patients in the US and Europe suffer from CLI, the most advanced stage of PAOD, causing pain, ulcers and tissue death. CLI is associated with a high risk of leg amputation and other cardiovascular diseases in heart, brain and kidneys, increasing the risk of death. There is a major unmet need for new effective and safe therapies as current treatments and interventions are only partially efficacious.
APAC, a mimetic of the body’s own heparin proteoglycans, provides potentially a new way of treating advanced PAOD/CLI patients. APAC addresses the underlying causes of the disease by uniquely targeting the vascular injury (atherosclerotic) sites, sealing the vascular surface, cooling down the processes of blood clotting (platelets, coagulation) and thromboinflammation and inhibiting the progression of atherosclerosis. APAC’s localised action also potentially reduces the risk for bleeding complications compared with antithrombotic drugs that predominantly rely on systemic effects. APAC is expected to be applicable in hospital use both in connection with the revascularization procedures of the affected arteries and microcirculation, and as a maintenance therapy by intravenous infusions.
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About Aplagon Oy
Aplagon Oy is a pharmaceutical development company, based in Helsinki, Finland, developing proprietary locally acting vasculoprotective antithrombotic products (APACs) for the management of vascular injury related blood vessel occlusions and tissue damage. Aplagon is based on the pioneering research performed by Prof. Riitta Lassila and associates at Wihuri Research Institute in Helsinki, Finland on mast cell-derived heparin proteoglycans.
About the European Innovation Council
The European Innovation Council (EIC) is Europe’s flagship innovation programme to identity, develop and scale up breakthrough technologies and game changing innovations. The EIC has been established under the EU Horizon Europe programme. It has a budget of €10.1 billion to support game changing innovations throughout the lifecycle from early stage research, to proof of concept, technology transfer, and the financing and scale up of start-ups and SMEs.
The EIC Accelerator programme supports individual Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in particular startups and spinout companies to develop and scale up game-changing innovations. In the first year of the EIC Accelerator programme, out of more than 4000 applicants, 164 projects have been selected for funding.
The EIC Fund is owned by the European Commission and established to make direct equity investments in breakthrough innovation companies selected for EIC Accelerator blended finance support (grant and equity).