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A Swiss biotech SME develops drugs that increase local microcirculation resulting in an unprecedented potency to stimulate nutritive blood flow, enable tissue regeneration and avoid hypoxia. Several indications are treatment of chronic wounds, ocular diseases and conditions associated with aging. Pharmaceutical corporations for a licensing or financial agreement and universities for a research cooperation agreement to bring additional proof of concept and validation in animal studies are sought.
Diabetes mellitus is one of the major health concerns worldwide affecting 425 million people and its prevalence is expected to increase to 629 million in 2045. It is estimated that 12% of the global health expenditure is spent on diabetes (around $727 billion). One serious complication of diabetes mellitus is the diabetic foot ulcer (DFU). Impaired local blood circulation and the resulting low tissue oxygenation, nutrient supply and waste elimination is a major cause for compromised wound healing in diabetic patients and wounds often become chronic and non-healing. Approximately 15% of all diabetic patients will develop an ulcer in their lifetime and DFU is the most common reasons for hospitalisation and the most frequent cause of lower extremity amputations (LEAs). In fact, every 20 seconds a lower limb is lost due to diabetes somewhere in the world. In spite of significant improvements with current Standard of Care (SoC) there remains a pressing need for innovative treatments.
Based on preclinical studies on vascular smooth muscle cells, isolated organ studies and animal models, the low molecular weight clinical candidate of the Swiss biotech company showed increased efficacy and potency on angiogenesis when compared to reference compounds or vehicles. Therapies with these drug candidates are expected to provide significant benefit on top of existing treatment options for wound healing and prophylaxis of diabetic foot ulcer.
Additionally, other applications may include ocular diseases, pulmonary hypertension and medical cosmetics.
Glaucoma is a heterogeneous group of diseases with a common denominator: damage of optic nerve which leads to irreversible blindness. Worldwide, people affected by glaucoma are 64 million and they are expected to rise to 76 million in 2020 and 111 million in 2040. Current treatments aim to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP). However, only 30-50% of patients have elevated IOP at the initial stages; therefore, there is an urgent medical need to study more effective therapies. Our approach is to target neuroprotection by addressing two established risk factors, ocular blood flow and IOP, in parallel.
The partner sought could be a big pharma company interested in:
- A licence agreement to commercialise the technology.
- A research cooperation agreement to launch clinical trials.
- A financial agreement to move to the next clinical phases.
The company is as well evaluating additional academic research cooperations to strengthen the scientific understanding of the unique mode of action compounds in the different indications mentioned above.
Drugs improving compromised local endothelial dysfunction, microcirculation and angiogenesis are not approved and commercialised for DFU. The current SoC treatments include:
- Skin substitutes
- Growth factors
- Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT)
- Herbal medicine
Despite these achievements, there remains a pressing need for innovative and improved `Medicine that Matters` in DFU targeting key disease mechanisms in this ailment. The elevated number of LEA for DFU underscores the urgency to deliver new drugs with a significant therapeutic advantage when added to SoC.
Therapies based on the new drug are expected to provide significant benefit on top of existing treatment options for wound healing and prophylaxis of diabetic foot ulcers by improving microcirculation and fostering angiogenesis in the wound area.
The current treatments for glaucoma focus on lowering the intraocular pressure and options may include:
- Prescription eye drops
- Laser treatment
- Combination of any of the above
Additionally, some of the eyedrop medicine are absorbed into the bloodstream, and patients experience some side effects that are unrelated to the eyes. The compounds of the Swiss company have a high affinity for plasma proteins and that should reduce systemic exposure and therefore minimising the side effects of the drug. Other treatment options include laser therapy and various surgical procedures. However, they all improve the drainage of fluid within the eye, thereby lowering pressure. There are no neuroprotective drugs on the market or in development that satisfy the medical need in this neurodegenerative disease of the eye.
Tested in vitro (vascular smooth cells) and in wound healing animal models.
The specific area of activity of the partner:
Pharmaceutical companies, universities and R&D organisations with expertise in wound healing, glaucoma, skin-aging:
1. R&D in wound healing, glaucoma and skin-aging.
2. Good Manufacturing Practise (GMP) production of microparticles.
3. Preparation and execution of clinical trials.
4. Commercialisation of innovative drugs.
The tasks to be performed by the partner sought:
1. Development of a slow-release formulation.
2. In-vivo studies in various animal models.
3. Development of Clinical Trials Phase I and II.