Dermoglass, a technology aimed at tackling chronic ulcers, becomes the first project funded by the CaixaImpulse programme to be licensed to a pharmaceutical company. The project, which was developed by the Biomaterials for Regenerative Therapies Group at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC, a BIST centre) under the lead of Dr. Elisabeth Engel, will be licensed to Laboratorios ERN.
Dermoglass patented technology uses bioengineering and nanomaterials to solve a problem that affects around 100 million people in the world and that is considered a silent epidemic of the 21st century: chronic ulcers.
Dermoglass technology has recently been licensed by IBEC to the pharmaceutical company Laboratorios ERN, which will have the rights to exploit and commercialise this new technology in Europe. ERN will lead the development of the technology until it reaches the market, with the support of IBEC in the next phases of formulation and scaling, speeding up the technology transfer process. With Dermoglass, Laboratorios ERN open a new line of business that is committed to innovation and the development of its own product.
The project was developed with the support of a variety of technology recovery and transfer programmes, among which are the La Caixa Banking Foundation’s “CaixaImpulse Validate” programme (2015) and “CaixaImpulse Consolidate” programme (2018), both key in the counseling and mentoring process. In addition, the project has benefited from the EIT-Health PoC PLUS programme (2016) and the Goteo crowdfunding platform (2014) within the SUMA UPC Programme.
The problem: skin ulcers
Ulcers are lesions on the skin that appear due to poor blood flow to a certain area of the body. This deficiency can have varied causes, such as long periods of immobilisation (in bed or wheelchair) or as a consequence of diabetes, in which patients suffer poor blood circulation. In fact, many diabetes patients tend to suffer from the “diabetic foot”, which involves wounds on the feet that arise as a result of the disease and that in 25% of cases lead to amputation.
The ulcers do not heal easily due to poor blood flow, and in 70% of cases they reappear. In people over 65 years of age, ulcers are the most frequent chronic wounds, but they can affect people of any age as they appear due to long periods of immobilisation which can include postoperative recovery or bone fractures. These skin lesions cause pain, difficulty moving, and often require treatments. In more serious cases, people must periodically go to a clinic for treatment, or even be hospitalised in extreme cases.
The solution: Dermoglass
There are currently numerous types of skin dressings on the market that are used to heal chronic ulcers, but these simply protect and isolate them from the external environment. There are also therapies based on cells and growth factors, although they are very expensive and have contraindications. The innovative Dermoglass technology goes one step further and accelerates the healing process of ulcers with the application of nanomaterials. This considerably reduces the negative effects for the people who suffer from them, and the economic costs associated with their treatment.
Dermoglass technology, based on calcium nanoparticles, recovers damaged tissue by stimulating skin cells such as fibroblasts, and vascularisation (the formation of new blood vessels to repair the affected tissue). As a result, the healing process is faster and more definitive.
The results obtained so far in animal models are very encouraging and show that with Dermoglass, ulcers heal faster than with other dressings. The product is currently in the preclinical and scale-up phase of production, and is expected to reach patients in a few years in an easy application form.
More information can be found on the IBEC website.