10/08/2015

Jellagen secures £97,477 to support the development of a functionalised collagen product for wound care

Jellagen Pty Ltd, a new medical-tech company is pleased to announce the award of £97,477 SMART grant funding from Innovate UK (formally the Technology Strategy Board).

Funding from Innovate UK will support R&D focused on a novel method of functionalising jellyfish collagen with the aim of tackling the two main clinical issues associated with chronic wounds, namely sepsis and maintaining healthy blood flow to the site of injury.  The project will evaluate biological activity in models of wound healing targeting chronic wounds e.g. Diabetic Foot Ulcer (DFU).

To help support the development of this 12 month project, Jellagen is working with world class research support at the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI), Neem Biotech Ltd, Syncura Ltd, the Welsh Wound Innovation Centre and University College London (UCL) with the aim of developing new intellectual property and wound care products.

Jellagen was founded in May 2013 and secured its first round funding of £550,000 in April 2014 from Finance Wales and Angel investors (xénos and SWAIN). The Company is now producing and selling the world’s first highly pure collagen derived from jellyfish for cell culture [2D & 3D] research applications. The company also aims to manufacture a GMP certified jellyfish collagen product as a raw material for use in medical devices in collaboration with its strategic partner Collagen Solutions plc.

Market drivers for collagen wound products are the ageing population and increasing numbers of obese and diabetic patients. The “wound healing” market offers significant sales opportunities and the global market is worth $15.6Billion. For example, diabetes is an escalating global problem and as a result the market for the treatment of diabetes related complications is growing rapidly. In 2014 the global market for wound care (for which DFU is a major driver) was worth $15.6billion, and is expected to reach $18.3Billion in 2019.

The cost of failure to treat DFU is often amputation, a decreased quality of life and over $46,000 in medical costs. In the UK 80% of non traumatic limb lose is due to diabetes, this has significant social impacts. Patients with a DFU can spend 3-6 months off work which is a significant loss of workforce that currently impacts and will continue to impact future economies and societies. There is a clinical need for improvements on current technologies and the introduction of novel solutions to tackle this ever-increasing global problem.

Collagen used in wound care products is traditionally produced from mammalian sources. These sources are often associated with religious, ethnic & quality assurance issues driving the market to search for alternative collagen sources. Jellyfish collagen offers the unique selling position (USP) of providing a non-mammalian, BSE and disease vector free product.

Jellagen operates from a processing facility at the Pembrokeshire Science and Technology Park in Pembrokeshire, Wales with its GMP product being developed by its strategic partner Collagen Solutions Plc, Glasgow. 

Andrew Mearns Spragg, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer said “We’re delighted to have been awarded this grant from Innovate UK. The grant will help support key research & product development activities within Jellagen and crucially offers the ability to widen our product and IP portfolio. Wound care represents an exciting market opportunity for the business and chronic ulcer treatments remain an unmet clinical need when it comes to effective treatments. We very much look forward to working with our research partners to develop novel innovations in collagen chemistry that could positively impact the healing process of chronic wounds.”     

Welcoming Jellagen’s announcement, Dr Melanie Goward, Deputy Fund Manager in Finance Wales’ technology ventures investment team said: “Jellagen is successfully selling products based on jellyfish collagen and securing this SMART grant is excellent news. Andrew and his team can now expand Jellagen’s product range by developing new wound treatments using jellyfish collagen.  Jellagen has attracted financial backing from a range of funders and we welcome Innovate UK’s support. We’re pleased to join forces with these funders to back Jellagen’s continued expansion.”