New pharmaceutical candidate prevents inflammation and thrombosis formation

Renaparin to improve kidney transplantation for patients with chronic kidney disease

New pharmaceutical candidate prevents inflammation and thrombosis formation

“Renaparin heals the vessel damage that otherwise means the body does not accept the new organ in a good way”, says Peetra Magnusson, head of the research project.

An ischemic process starts as soon as an organ is removed from a donor, or even slightly before that point. This means that the organ suffers the effects of a lack of oxygen, which among other things causes damage to the vessel walls.

“If the new kidney’s vessel walls are damaged, it can trigger the recipient’s immune system and lead to inflammation, thrombosis formation and impaired kidney function. The scope of the problem varies depending on where in the world the transplantation is carried out, but up to 40 per cent of all kidney transplant patients are affected and must go back on dialysis for 10 to 14 days. In the worst case, a new donor must be sought and the operation be repeated,” states Peetra Magnusson.

Unique molecule

Corline’s discovery is a large molecule, based on the established medication, Heparin, which is well-documented and has long been used to reduce the risk of blood clots.

“However, instead of introducing the pharmaceutical into the recipient’s body we deliver the molecule to the kidney via the liquid preservative that surrounds it. Due to its special design, the molecule fastens automatically to the damaged places on the vessel walls and maintains its original medicinal function: to reduce coagulation and inflammation”, says Henrik Nittmar, CEO of Corline.

Corline, as far as he knows, is the sole provider of this solution:

“There are a number of other competing projects, but they treat the symptoms that arise in the recipient of the transplant. We consider that our solution is better, as we prevent the problem from arising by improving the status of the transplanted kidney. In addition, the treatment is outside the body, which is much safer for the patient. The fact that the treatment is based on an existing pharmaceutical shortens the path to practical application.”

In clinical trials in 2018

The researchers are about to begin clinical trials. In 2018, a group of 18 patients will take part in a study in which half are treated with the new molecule, Renaparin, and the rest act as a control group.

“We have received SEK 23 million from the EU Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme for the clinical studies and have recently been awarded a Swelife Accelerator grant to develop the method so it can also be used in lung transplants. We see this in the long run as a completely new platform technology for organ transplantation.”

The data generated by the project will be published in early 2018.

A stamp of quality

The original funding from Swelife was an important evaluation signal to other investors, considers Henrik Nittmar:

“Swelife is a stamp of quality that makes others dare to get involved. Today we are a public company and have raised more than SEK 50 million through share issues.”

Over the next five years he sees two development paths for the project:

“We want to take this through clinical phase 2 at least and then licence it out. The alternative is that we take the project through phase 3 under our own management and then launch the pharmaceutical ourselves.”

Updated: 15 November 2017

Text: Jörgen Olsson