CombiGene is very well positioned for continued success

"I thrive in smaller companies where everyone helps each other to create success."

There is so much I want to say in this my first editorial in Ingeneious that it is almost difficult to know where to start, but let me first extend a big and warm thank you to Jan Nilsson who during his time as CEO developed CombiGene from a company with one project in early preclinical phase to the CombiGene we see today: an internationally recognized gene therapy company with one project, the epilepsy project CG01, licensed to Spark Therapeutics, one project aimed at treating the rare and severe disease partial lipodystrophy and the extremely exciting pain program COZY. 

I would also like to thank Jan and the entire team for the great introduction to CombiGene that I have received during my time as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. It is with great eagerness and enthusiasm that I now take on my new role as CEO of CombiGene. I am really looking forward to continuing the development of CombiGene with more successes in the gene therapy field together with the board and the rest of the CombiGene team.

License agreements are the goal
Crucial for our success is that we can produce conclusive and positive preclinical results with the potential to be translated into good results in humans. This is the way we can attract future partners to our projects. It is also important that we can take on more gene therapy projects that target patient populations with great needs and add value to them with our special expertise in drug development and gene therapy.

Having a project portfolio with several projects is important since it significantly increases the chances of reaching all the way to a license agreement. All drug development takes time and the costs of developing a new drug are high, at the same time the risk that a project does not go all the way to commercialization is significant. In other words, it is not enough with just one or two projects in the portfolio, several projects are needed to distribute risk and increase the chances of success.

Health economic aspects will be crucial
Another crucial aspect of our business is health economics. Gene therapy is, and will continue to be, an exclusive form of treatment. It is therefore crucial that we can demonstrate that our therapies can improve patients’ quality of life to such an extent that it is possible for society to make a positive health economic calculation. It is my conviction that the projects in which we are engaged can succeed in this, namely both improving the quality of life for the individual patient and offering a treatment that is economically justifiable.

A great team
I am sometimes asked why I left a large group like Getinge, where I was previously CEO of the Swedish operations. The answer is very simple. I thrive in smaller companies where everyone helps each other to create success and where the paths to decisions are short. In recent years, I have been exclusively active in the ATMP area (Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products), which in itself is extremely interesting given the fantastic opportunities to develop completely new and effective therapies for otherwise incurable diseases and conditions.

The competent and hardworking team at CombiGene continues to develop our projects, not least the pain program COZY where we work together with our Danish partner Zyneyro. In addition to our existing product portfolio, we are also actively looking for more projects for inlicensing to establish a portfolio of commercially interesting gene therapy projects to increase our opportunities to reach more licensing agreements like the one we signed with Spark Therapeutics in 2021.

Peter Ekolind

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