Aqilion

About the company

Aqilion is a Swedish life science company. We believe the best source of new treatments comes from identifying, shaping and strengthening early drug innovation. We seek ideas that could potentially both improve patient quality of life and streamline health care.

Aqilion pursues and transforms ideas aimed at testing and refining science into clinical translation. The goal is to deliver clinical proof-of-concept and an interesting value proposition to attract partners for the final phases of clinical development and commercialization.

Vision and Mission

Our vision is to make a significant contribution to novel and effective treatments by challenging and applying science in combination with creativity and entrepreneurship to improve patients’ life and to maximize health care value for society.

Our mission is to identify, develop and clinically prove novel medical innovations in order to attract industrial partners (buyers) to conduct late-phase clinical trials and commercialization. We aim to pursue the development of a robust, long-term profitable company with a focus on effective treatments.

Values

Curious – and driven by passion, we pursue sustainable opportunities based on science.

Courageous – to do it differently, take calculated risks, delivering to high standards through a truly lean process.

Collaborative – building on each other’s expertise and engaging others.

Consistent – we are careful with our resources and act open, honest, ethical and genuine.

Operational Team

Broad experience and cutting-edge knowledge

Our team scouts for and evaluates new project ideas and manages the project development process. Our experienced team members have diverse backgrounds that enable us to provide the projects with hands-on support. Together with partners, project managers and selected specialists, our team manages and supports projects from idea to exit. The Aqilion operational team also coordinates the partner network, handles communications and manages Aqilion and the individual projects.

Sarah Fredriksson – CEO

PhD and M.Sc. from Lund University. CEO of Aqilion AB. She has a background as founder and CEO of Genovis AB (listed on First North, Nasdaq OMX Nordic) and most recently as CEO of Edvince AB. Currently she serves as a board member of LU Holding and SwedenBIO, as well as on other boards of directors in the life science sector. She is a former board member of AcuCort AB.

Lars Brynk – CFO (interim)

In current position since 2019. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Economics from Lund University (1990) and has long experience in finance and business administration. His background includes roles as CFO, Deputy CEO and Business Controller, primarily in the grocery sector at COOP and Bergendahls, among others. He has also held financial and business administrative positions in a few other industries. During his most recent time in this area, he has mainly focused on tasks such as governance, processes and strategic planning.

Susanna Dahlgren – Senior Project Leader

PhD in clinical immunology from Karolinska Institutet and B.Sc. in microbiology from Stockholm University. She has robust experience from academic research and pharmaceutical development, and is specialized in project management, medical affairs and scientific communications. Most recently she held the Global Market Intelligence Manager position at Polypeptide Group and previously international senior positions with ALK in Denmark and AstraZeneca in Sweden. Currently she is a project manager at Trophea AB.

Carina Eldh – Director, Finance & Administration

She has provided financial and administrative support to Aqilion and its portfolio companies since 2011. An accountant with 20 years’ experience in accounting, auditing and taxation matters, she has held previous positions at KPMG and other accounting firms, the Swedish Tax Agency and Öresundskraft.

Fredrik Lindgren – Vice President, Chief Business Officer

PhD, M.Sc. in chemistry from Umeå University. He has a background in the pharmaceutical industry with key positions in the area of business development processes at AstraZeneca and Umetrics AB among others. Most recently, he held the position of Senior Director, Head of Global Business Development at LEO Pharma.

Jeanette Folking – Vice President, Chief Development Officer

PhD, M.Sc. in Pharm., followed by post-doc studies in the US. She has gained broad experience from key international positions as medical director, project manager for drug development and head of clinical trials in the pharma industry at Novartis, Perstorp Pharma, Searle Scandinavia, Tigran Technologies and the CDC. Currently she is a project manager at Laccure AB. She is a board member of Glactone Pharma AB.

Martin Johansson – Senior Director Medical Chemistry

PhD., Associate Professor in organic chemistry and M.Sc. chemical engineering at Lund University. Almost 20 years’ experience in medicinal chemistry and preclinical research and development. Former Chief Scientific Officer at Respiratorius AB and Senior Research Scientist at AstraZeneca, Discovery R&D. Currently project manager at Glactone Pharma AB.

Jan Törnell – Chief Medical Scientist

MD, PhD. He is the former global Vice President Strategy, AstraZeneca Oncology & Infection. Professor, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. Chairman of Glactone Pharma AB and LIDDS AB. He serves on the Board of Directors at Diaprost AB and NeuroVive Pharmaceuticals AB, and is an innovator at Trophea AB.

Q&A

What is Aqilion?

Aqilion is a Swedish life science company that promotes pharmaceutical projects that have a good potential to become successful drug candidates.

We seek ideas that could potentially both improve patient quality of life and streamline health care. We want to challenge and apply science in combination with creativity and entrepreneurship to maximize health care value for society. We believe the best source of new treatments comes from identifying, shaping and strengthening early drug innovation.

Aqilion is undergoing progressive change. We have advanced from a relaunch when we analyzed and defined a forward-looking strategy. That effort culminated in the name change to Aqilion (previously known as PULS) in 2019 as a step toward re-positioning the company and strengthening brand awareness.

How is Aqilion organized?

Our team scouts for new project ideas, evaluates them, and manages the project development process. The experienced team members have a diverse background that enables us to provide the projects with hands-on support. Together with project managers and selected specialists, our team manages and supports projects from idea to exit. The Aqilion operational team also coordinates advisors and specialists, handles communications and manages Aqilion and the individual projects.

Does Aqilion focus on specific therapeutic areas?

Aqilion focuses on pharmaceuticals in the area of inflammation at the interface of oncology and immunology. We promote life science projects with a well-defined medical need, solid scientific evidence and an opportunity for exclusivity on the market.

What is Aqilion’s business model?

In Aqilion’s business model, early-stage project development delivers the value proposition and is the key cost driver. Revenue and return on investment are based on co-development, licensing deals or through M&A (merger & acquisition).

Aqilion strives to keep fixed costs low, while minimizing project costs by sharing resources, creating long-term relationships with specialists, CRO and CMOs, and identifying partners for co-financing approaches where necessary. Learn more about our business model.

How early in the innovation process does Aqilion get involved?

Aqilion prefers to get involved at an early stage, preferably at the beginning of a defined project, in order to support the project and optimize development of the project plan and patent strategy at an early stage.

Who owns Aqilion?

Aqilion is owned by several private investors and family offices. Aqilion has a total of about 100 shareholders. The largest shareholder is Länsförsäkringar, a Swedish insurance company group.

What about sustainability?

Aqilion performs responsible value development in pharmaceutical projects that are in early innovation (discovery phase) and early clinical development. We are firmly committed to upholding a high ethical level and integrity in all that we do. We apply our expertise to the focus area of inflammation at the interface of oncology and immunology, where there is still a high medical need.

We promote a business that is characterized by our core values:

Curious – and driven by passion, we pursue sustainable opportunities based on science.

Courageous – to do it differently, take calculated risks, delivering to high standards through a truly lean process.

Collaborative – building on each other’s expertise and engaging others.

Consistent – we are careful with our resources and act open, honest, ethical and genuine.

When was Aqilion founded?

Aqilion was previously known as PULS which was founded on February 1, 2002, in Helsingborg, Sweden, by several people with backgrounds in the pharmaceutical industry and research. The company became operative in the fall of 2003.

The company name was changed in early 2019 as a step toward re-positioning the company and strengthening its brand awareness. The word “Aqilion” derives from Aquila, the Latin for eagle, and from the Aquila constellation, seen in the Nordic sky. The name symbolizes the concept of a constellation of partners, as well as the ability to exercise an “eagle eye” by applying the company’s extensive experience to identify and pursue unique opportunities.

Why choose Aqilion?

Aqilion promotes life science projects with a well-defined medical need, solid scientific evidence and an opportunity for exclusivity on the market. We focus on pharmaceuticals in the area of inflammation at the interface of oncology and immunology. To reduce the risks from the very beginning, we only invest in projects which we believe hold great potential and for which our team can make a difference. Aqilion focuses on early stage projects and develops them in close collaboration with innovators, shepherding them from ideas to completed attractive projects for industry.

Aqilion is an attractive partner for researchers who would like to commercialize an idea without having to start companies, become entrepreneurs, or take the risks and do all the work required to succeed.

Aqilion is a small cost-efficient organization with a lean decision-making process that manages its projects in close collaboration with the innovators.

Aqilion has a proven track record, with one medication approved within the EU and two project companies that were successfully sold.

How late does Aqilion enter a project?

Aqilion prefers to enter at an early stage, preferably at the beginning of a defined project, in order to support the project and optimize development of the project plan and patent strategy at an early stage, but there are exceptions to this rule.

Has Aqilion exited any companies?

Yes. Two companies have been listed and two have been sold:

LIDDS AB was listed on the Nasdaq First North (Stockholm, Sweden) in 2014.

AcuCort AB was listed on Spotlight Stock Market in Stockholm, Sweden in 2017. Aqilion has remained the main shareholder with approximately 26% of shares (Oct 2019).

Ambria Dermatology AB was sold after Aqilion (legacy PULS) had run the project for five years in 2009. Ambria Dermatology developed a technological platform to prolong the lifecycle of dermatological and hygiene products. The profits were three times the invested capital.

DuoCort Pharma AB developed Plenadren® (a medication for treating adrenal insufficiency) and was sold in 2011 to an American pharmaceutical company (ViroPharma, now known as Shire). DuoCort Pharma (subsidiary of Pulsetten AB) was started and run by Aqilion (legacy PULS) for seven years and the final value of the sale was more than SEK 1 billion, or 12 times the invested capital.

In order for Aqilion to be a sustainable company, it is essential that the company continues to be extremely careful about exiting the projects that do not meet the goals that have been set, and to do so in time. Therefore, Aqilion has decided to discontinue to invest in five projects:

Pharmapnea AB was discontinued in 2014. Adenovir Pharma AB and Trophea begun the liquidation processes during the fourth quarter of 2019.

During 2019, Aqilion has also sold its holdings in the project company Belina AB to its founder and the entire stake in the portfolio company Glactone Pharma AB to Daniel Lifveredson Invest AB.

What about diversity?

Aqilion is committed to supporting an inclusive and diverse workplace that recognizes and values differences. We recognize that our diversity—the many unique qualities that we individually and collectively bring to work each day—contributes to building a stronger team and a better company.

Aqilion respects and appreciates differences in age, ethnicity and gender or other personal characteristics. Aqilion strives to promote and foster inclusive and diverse teams.

How does Aqilion collaborate with the innovators and academic research groups?

The projects are carried out together with the researchers/innovators, who continue to have an active role in project development. The projects are jointly owned. The researchers/innovators are members of the project team.

Does Aqilion have any specific geographical focus?

Aqilion has no geographical constraints. Project quality is more important than geographical origin. However, the project companies are run as Swedish projects/corporations, most often based in Helsingborg.

© Copyright 2019 Aqilion AB