New Swedish Pharma Bids for Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Without Side Effects

Swedish Gesynta Pharma has signed an agreement with Orexo to acquire a drug candidate to treat inflammatory diseases with fewer side effects.

Based in Uppsala, Orexo has built a solid pipeline since its foundation in 1995, including three products currently in the market. The company has now struck a deal for one of its early-stage programs, OX-MPI, focused on inflammation. BI1029539, the lead candidate in the program, has been acquired by Stockholm-based Gesynta Pharma in a deal that includes a double-digit share of future revenues from the program for Orexo and makes Gesynta join the ranks of Orexo’s partners AstraZeneca and Mundipharma.

Gesynta Pharma, a brand new company founded this year, focuses on new treatments for inflammatory diseases that provide an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which carry serious cardiovascular and gastrointestinal side effects. In particular, the company targets the inhibition of the microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1), which is exactly the mechanism of action of Orexo’s BI1029539.

Since mPGES-1 is an enzyme downstream of the COX enzymes that NSAIDs target, selectively blocking it could keep the anti-inflammatory activity of these drugs without the side effects induced by blocking prostaglandin E2. Gesynta’s founders include several experts in inflammatory disease from the Karolinska Institutet, including the discoverers of mPGES, Professors Ralf Morgenstern and Per-Johan Jakobsson.


Image via Ulf Bodin /Flickr

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