Karolinska Development’s portfolio company AnaCardio has recruited the first patient in its Phase Ib/IIa study of AC01 drug for the treatment of heart failure.

The first subject has been recruited at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden.

Other patients will be enrolled at various European centres in Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Great Britain.

Patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) will receive several doses of AC01 in the study, GOAL-HF1.

The randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study will evaluate the drug’s safety profile, tolerability and pharmacokinetics. It will also assess the drug’s efficacy on several pharmacodynamic parameters.

Karolinska Development CEO Viktor Drvota said: “AnaCardio’s drug candidate AC01 is based on a unique mode of action, which has been shown to increase the heart’s capacity without increasing the risk of the many adverse events associated with today’s heart failure treatments, which in the worst case could lead to life-threatening conditions.”

Contract research organisation Worldwide Clinical Trials will support AnaCardio for conducting the AC01 study.

AC01, a small molecule drug candidate, mimics the mode of action of the peptide hormone ghrelin, which has shown positive effect on the heart’s contractability and also increases the blood volume ejected from the heart.

Karolinska Development has an ownership interest of 21% in AnaCardio.