The biotech company Omnio based in Swedish Umeå, and led by researcher Tor Ny at Umeå University, launches a research collaboration with the Canadian pharmaceutical company ProMetic to develop a new drug for slow-healing chronic wounds. The collaboration includes funding for clinical studies of a drug based on the blood plasma protein plasminogen. Researchers will test if plasminogen speeds up wound healing.
"My wish is that we will soon have an efficient drug speeding up the treatment and healing of chronic wounds – a large medical problem causing huge suffering. Speeding up the healing of these wounds would mean a lot to the quality of life for the affected patients. The troublesome, painful and slow-healing diabetic wounds can even lead to the need of amputating a foot," says Tor Ny, researcher at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics at Umeå University at Umeå University and founder of Omnio.
The establishment of a research centre also falls under the longterm collaboration. This centre will be managed by Omnio in collaboration with Umeå University and involve research on what role the protein plasminogen has in the healing of various slow-healing wounds such as diabetic wounds and bedsore.
Other than the increased funding, the Umeå researchers are secured access to GMP-grade plasminogen which has been tested and is safe to use in clinical studies. The research team is planning on initiating clinical studies on people in the second half of 2016 and hope that tests in this final stage of research will prove successful.
Diabetics are at higher risk of developing foot ulcers due to lack of feeling in the foot and nerve damage. Vascular disease can also complicate a foot ulcer and lead to a reduced ability to heal. Diabetic wounds that do not heal necessitate an estimated 10 million amputations worldwide per year.
Plasminogen is a naturally occurring protein that is synthesized by the liver and circulates in the blood. In its activated form, so-called plasmin, it is an important enzyme involved in the lysis of blood clots and wound healing.