Uppsala, Sweden, June 8, 2020. Ilya Pharma, a clinical stage biopharma company developing novel chemokine gene therapies with its ILP-technology platform, today announced that it has secured a total of Euros 5.3 million in funding from the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program of blended financing. The funds will enable Ilya Pharma to accelerate a Phase II Trial of its lead drug candidate ILP100 which has the potential to heal problematic non-healing wounds in diabetes, potentially up to 80% faster, and deliver savings to overburdened healthcare systems of Euros 6 billion annually. The EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument) award supports small and medium-sized companies with breakthrough innovations and the potential to create new markets or redefine existing ones globally. Less than 5% of applicants selected for the prestigious award succeed, but Ilya Pharma joins an even more select group by having now won for a second time – the first in 2018 also for ILP100 developments in a first in human clinical trial.
Ilya Pharma are breaking new ground with their ILP-technology platform. Until now, chemokines have been underexplored as therapeutic agents in general and for gastrointestinal indications and wound care due to their short half-life. Ilya’s novel solution is to use genetically modified lactic acid bacteria that act as mini-bioreactors at the actual treatment site to produce the human chemokine directly to the afflicted site and there instruct the local immune cells to dampen inflammation or aid in and accelerate the healing and regenerative processes. Ilya has chosen to target wounds in patients with diabetes, due to a large unmet medical need in this group. Today, 18% of people with diabetes have a chronic wound which translates into at least 6 million people in Europe alone. One of the complications of diabetes, sis non-healing wounds especially on the lower extremities often result in limb amputation. The mortality rate after an amputation is 30% within the first year, which is similar to several cancers. Even more alarming, treatment is today limited to mechanical debridement, use of different dressings, and a substantial overuse of antibiotics.
“We are honoured that the European Innovation Council continues to recognise and support our work with this second award,” said Dr Evelina Vågesjö, Ilya Pharma’s CEO. “In addition, the accompanying European Investment Bank investment strengthens the case for future larger investments, by EIB and other institutional investors who will be invited to coinvest with EIB in coming rounds. We believe our approach offers a real opportunity to improve quality of life for patients in diabetes and our other focus areas of post-surgical wounds and gastrointestinal indications such as IBD.”
Ilya aims to open recruitment for Phase II in 2021 and is also currently closing an additional related Euros 5 million share issue in the near future.