“We aim to be a start-up company with an academic spirit”

Chronic pain and Alzheimer’s are two diseases that plague many people worldwide and seem impossible to cure. However, Huddinge-based company Alzecure is working on developing drugs for both conditions.

“We started as a spinoff from Astra Zeneca. When they closed down their research on pain and Alzheimer’s we continued to pursue this research with support from the Swedish Alzheimer’s Foundation,” says Martin Jönsson, CEO of Alzecure Pharma and one of the speakers at Life Science Sweden’s Bioscience congress on 8 November.

Alzecure has several drugs in its pipeline, all targeting diseases of the nervous system. In terms of development, the company has come the furthest with the substance ACD856 against neuropathic pain, which is now in phase IIa trials.

The company’s leading substance against Alzheimer’s is called AZD856 and aims to improve cognition and memory function in patients with the disease. The company also hopes that the same substance can be used for other cognitive disorders such as Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury and sleep disorders.

Since Alzecure was founded, the company has worked closely with academia. Bengt Winblad, a pioneer in Swedish Alzheimer’s research, was already involved at the inception in 2012, and he is still a sounding board of the company.

Furthermore, Alzecure collaborates with Henrik Zetterberg, Professor of Neurochemistry at the University of Gothenburg, as well as several other well-known researchers in this field. Martin Jönsson mentions, among other things, collaborations with Per Nilsson, Maria Eriksdotter and Maria Ankarcrona at the Karolinska Institute and Rolf Karlström at Uppsala University Hospital.

“We like the academic environment, and we aim to be a start-up company with an academic spirit,” says Martin Jönsson.

Alzecure was founded as a foundation in 2012 in collaboration between the Alzheimer’s Foundation, Bengt Winblad and a group of researchers from Astra Zeneca.

The researchers from Astra Zeneca who co-founded the company were Johan Sandin, Gunnar Nordvall, Pontus Forsell, Johan Lundkvist and Magnus Halldin.

Alzecure Pharma was formed in 2016, and two years later, it was listed at the stock exchange. At the beginning of 2020, Martin Jönsson took over as CEO.

The company employs 14 people at the office in Huddinge, Sweden, and a further 30 consultants are attached to the company. Many of the employees have experience from large pharmaceutical companies and Martin Jönsson, for example, has a background from Roche and Ferring. However, Alzecure does not aim to become a global pharmaceutical giant.

“We are an R&D company that takes our projects into the clinical phase, as far as phase II. Because we believe that you must have very advanced regulatory and have commercial knowledge and experience, which the big pharma companies have in order to succeed in registering a medicine and getting it out globally. Our goal is to out-license our projects. Initially, the idea is to out-license one of them for in that way to bring in additional capital to be able to take the others as far as possible and develop further as an innovative biotech company.”

What will you talk about at Bioscience?

“I will tell you about our research, development and vision. And then, I will tell you about how our collaboration with the academy works.”

Bioscience Research and Diagnostics through innovative technologies

When: 8 November.
Where: Life City, Solna.
Moderator: Johan Rockberg.
Cost: Free entry and registration on the website is required.
Organiser: Life Science Sweden.
List of speakers: Sophia Hober, Yihai Cao, Magnus Ekvall, Linda Lindskog, Nikolas Herold, Martin Jädersten, Hugo Zeberg, Martin Jönsson, Anna Rising, Magdalena Malm and others.
Website: bioscienceevent.com

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