Innovate UK has awarded a grant to Pembrokeshire-based medical techology company Jellagen to develop a functionalised collagen product for wound care.
The £97,477 Smart grant funding will support research and development efforts focused on a novel method of functionalising jellyfish collagen to counter two main clinical issues associated with chronic wounds, namely sepsis and maintaining healthy blood flow to the site of injury.
In particular, the one-year project will evaluate biological activity in models of wound healing, targeting chronic wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcer (DFU).
The cost of failure to treat DFU is often amputation, a decreased quality of life and more than $46,000 in medical costs.
Jellagen CEO Andrew Mearns Spragg said: "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."
Jellagen has partnered with the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI), Neem Biotech, Syncura, the Welsh Wound Innovation Centre and University College London (UCL) to develop new intellectual property and wound care products.
Collagen used in wound care products is traditionally extracted from mammalian sources, which are often associated with religious, ethnic and quality assurance issues, and trigger the need for alternative collagen sources.
Jellyfish collagen provides a non-mammalian, bovine spongiform encephalopathy and disease vector-free product.
Established in May 2013, Jellagen is currently producing and selling the world's first highly pure collagen derived from jellyfish for cell culture research applications.
The company seeks to partner with Collagen Solutions to manufacture a GMP certified jellyfish collagen product as a raw material for use in medical devices.
Jellagen operates from a processing facility at the Pembrokeshire Science and Technology Park in Pembrokeshire, Wales, while its GMP product is being developed by Collagen Solutions in Glasgow, Scotland.
Image: Jellagen manufactures and sells the world's first highly pure collagen derived from jellyfish. Photo: courtesy of Hans Hillewaert.