The problem

Until now, there has been no fully reliable treatment to reverse life-threatening acute high blood pressure in the lungs.

The cause of the acutely increased blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs may include a blood clot, blood poisoning or other serious infections. It can also be a complication in major surgeries, for example in cardiac surgery. During some procedures with a heart-lung machine, more than 50 percent of the patients may be affected. In other words, it is a life-threatening condition that generally occurs in the setting of critical illness elicited by many common diseases and major surgical procedures. 

The result of the increased resistance in the lung blood vessels is that the heart’s right ventricle does not have the capacity to sufficiently pump the blood through the lungs. The consequence is, in severe cases, right heart failure and a drop in systemic blood pressure threatening blood flow to vital organs such as the brain, liver, kidneys and the heart itself – which can lead to a rapid death. 

The fact is that until now, there has been no effective treatment to prevent this serious condition, consequently it is a major clinical problem. Inhaling nitric oxide or prostacyclin via the airways does not guarantee that the volatile gas reaches the affected blood vessels. Furthermore, treatment with current intravenous vasodilators can cause a drop in systemic blood pressure and impair blood supply to the body’s vital organs. 

Our discovery of a long-awaited effective drug that selectively and efficiently widens the blood vessels in the lungs, and that soon will come into clinical practice is therefore great world news.


The solution

Supernitro, the first and only intravenous drug to selectively treat acute high blood pressure in the lungs

The Attgeno technology is based on ground-breaking research on nitric oxide and circulatory physiology at the Karolinska Institute and has been awarded the Major Innovation Prize by the Karolinska Institute Innovations AB and Innovation Agency Stockholm.

Our method of tailoring drugs to release nitric oxide to specific organs in the body has now generated a range of new drug substances with unique properties that can be used in life-threatening medical conditions. A great advantage with nitric oxide is that the substance is a natural part of our body and has been used for many years in clinical treatments. Supernitro, our first drug candidate, represents a great new step in the medical use of nitric oxide. The drug is developed to selectively widen the blood vessels in the lungs.

The patient receives Supernitro as an intravenous infusion which means that nitric oxide is delivered in the natural way via the blood-vessels to the heart and lungs. The pressure in the lung circulation is lowered by widening all the targeted local blood vessels in the lungs. 


Development

Supernitro development plan

We aspire to become the game changer on the market for treatment of acute pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular failure – and have now reached the clinical development phase where Supernitro is tested in humans. The immediate targeted users of Supernitro will be intensive care physicians and anesthesiologists in emergency settings, where acute pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure are common conditions. 

Covid-19 clinical studies are approved by the Swedish Medical Product Agency and will be conducted at the ICU clinics at Danderyd Hospital in Stockholm, Sahlgrenska Hospital in Gothenburg and Örebro Hospital. 

Market opportunities

The potential total market for Supernitro, as a treatment for acute pulmonary hypertension, is estimated to more than EUR 10 billion. The market consists of critically ill patients in emergency and intensive care settings developing this life threatening condition after surgery, infections or in association with clots in the lung blood circulation.