Unmet Medical Needs

PledPharma develops new therapies for life-threatening diseases

PledPharma develops new drugs based on its clinically proven technology PLED for protecting the body against oxidative stress – a condition that can be caused by e.g. chemotherapy, acetaminophen poisoning and heart attacks.

Chemotherapy for colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer-related cause of death in the Western world. Every year more than 450 000 people are diagnosed with the disease. One of the most common treatments for colon cancer is a combination of cytotoxic drugs called FOLFOX (folate, 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) and oxaliplatin). FOLFOX provides better outcome than older treatments, however with severe side effects leading to reduced doses of chemotherapy where less than half of the patients actually receive the prescribed dose. There is hence a great medical need to reduce the side effects of treatment with FOLFOX.

Side effects of chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is effective in treating cancer but often come with severe side effects. A common and serious side effect is sensory nerve damage (neuropathy), which affects nearly all patients, resulting in symptoms such as hypersensitivity to cold, difficulty fastening buttons and pain.

Medications to reduce side effects

Effective (supporting) medicines are available to prevent certain side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea. In addition, drugs that stimulate the formation of various blood cells can be used to reduce severe anemia, a very common side effect. However there are still no effective drugs to prevent decrease in serious nervous disorders (neuropathies). The global market for supportive cancer therapy currently exceeds $10 billion.

Acetaminophen poisoning

Acetaminophen is the most widely used drug in the world in the treatment of pain conditions and is available both as Rx and OTC drugs. Meanwhile, acetaminophen poisoning is one of the most common drug poisonings following intentional or accidental overdosing. Intentional overdose of acetaminophen is the most common method for suicide attempts among adolescents aged 10-19 years, where girls dominate.

Acetaminophen poisoning is insidious in the sense that acetaminophen is widely considered the gentlest of pain drugs and it can be difficult to become aware at the outset that one has accidentally overdosed, as the difference between normal and malicious dosing is small. Meanwhile, the symptoms can be quite vague or totally absent in the first days after poisoning. Overdose of acetaminophen can lead to, among other things, acute liver failure, which in turn can result in the need for liver transplantation and in the worst cases, result in death.

Acetaminophen overdosing is a huge problem worldwide. In Sweden, the number of questions about acetaminophen poisoning to the Poison Information Centre has increased threefold since 2000. The Swedish Medical Products Agency has recently prohibited the sale of acetaminophen in supermarkets. In the US, overdose of acetaminophen is the reason for 78,000 emergency visits, resulting in about 1,300 acute liver failures, 33 000 hospitalizations and about 1,000 deaths annually.