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Licensing, Research Deal Aims at Chronic Wound Treatments

Tor Ny

Tor Ny (Umeå University)

16 November 2015. Umeå University and the pharmaceutical company Prometic are partnering on development of new treatments for chronic wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers and bed sores. The agreement gives Prometic, in Laval, Quebec, Canada an exclusive license to the university’s research on the blood plasma protein plasminogen, with the company funding further studies at Umeå University, in Sweden, on plasminogen. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Chronic wounds are often slow to heal because of inflammation and other factors that inhibit the healing process. One of those factors is diabetes that reduces blood flow to the legs and feet, leading to nerve damage and reduced feeling in those regions, as well as slower healing of wounds. CDC says in 2008, some 70,000 Americans required amputation of a leg or foot because of complications from diabetes. In addition, says CDC, people with diabetes are 8 times more likely to lose a leg or foot than people without diabetes.

At Umeå, the lab of Tor Ny, professor of biochemistry and biophysics, is studying the protein plasminogen, made in the liver and a regulator of inflammation that interrupts the repair of tissue and healing of wounds. Ny’s research with plasminogen in lab animals shows the protein, an enzyme precursor, sends signals to wound regions that reduce inflammation in its early stages, allowing wounds to heal faster. Pilot studies by Ny and colleagues with humans show plasminogen injections around wounds activate and stimulate healing.

At the same time, Prometic is developing protein-based therapies including treatments for plasminogen deficiencies in children. The agreement calls for a research collaboration between Prometic and Umeå University, funded by Prometic, which gives the company an exclusive license to technologies based on Ny’s research with plasminogen. Any further discoveries from the collaboration will also become the property of Prometic. The partnership will be managed from Umeå’s side by Omnio AB, a biotechnology spin-off enterprise from the university founded by Ny.

In addition, the deal calls for Umeå researchers to get access to Prometic’s clinical grade plasminogen developed by the company for clinical trials. “The fact that ProMetic’s plasma-derived plasminogen drug has already been proven safe and efficacious in humans,” says Ny in a Prometic statement, “combined with our own clinical experience in hard-to-treat wounds gives us great confidence as to the success of the upcoming wound healing clinical program,” expected to begin in the second half of 2016.

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