Three investors are backing Umeå-based pharmaceutical company Vakona with funding worth millions of SEK.
“We are absolutely delighted and proud to have attracted this investment. It’s a reward for many years of hard work and takes us one step closer to clinical human trials”, says Gabriella Persson, CEO of Vakona.
Vakona is developing a new, antibiotic-free treatment for acne. The company has worked for several years with a natural bacterial protein identified by Oleg Alexeyev’s research group at Umeå University that can be used as an effective treatment for acne, for example by application with skin cream.
“Acne vulgaris is the most common skin disease in the world, and affects more than 80 percent of all teenagers and young adults. Today’s treatments still have many shortcomings, including long treatment times and poor results”, says Oleg Alexeyev, founder of Vakona.
Now three business angels and venture capital companies are backing Vakona with investments totaling SEK 15 million. The investors are Stoaf III SciTech, Phase2Phase Biopharma and Partnerinvest Norr.
“At last we can finally continue the development of our project and the production of our drug substance – and get one step closer to clinical trials on humans”, says Vakona’s Chairman Mats Strömqvist. He adds:
“In addition to the capital itself, investors also contribute expertise in business development, networking and product development. This investment means a great deal to us”.
The global market for acne drugs is estimated to be worth almost $6 billion in 2021, and is expected to rise by 4–5.5 percent annually. It is a substantial market and Vakona hopes their product will become a market leader in the future.
“Right now there is a huge focus on beginning production of our drug candidate in accordance with the stringent requirements the regulatory authorities place on any new drug. We are also actively working to expand the company and continue to attract additional investors to help take us all the way to clinical trials. The goal is to start recruiting patients for our first clinical study in 2023, and to carry out the study in 2024”, says Gabriella Persson.