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New biomaterials combat hard-to-heal wounds

Io-Cyte is a Leeds-based, woundcare technology company formed in 2019. The company develops innovative treatments for slow-healing wounds that can be easily applied in the patient’s home or doctor’s surgeries.

Innovative treatment prevents the formation of stubborn biofilms of bacteria in the wound base

An ageing population, the rise in obesity and chronic wounds associated with type 2 diabetes are driving the need for new ways of managing wounds at home or in primary care. It is estimated that around one million patients in the UK are treated every year for complex, slow-healing wounds that affect the quality of their life and mental well-being. This also imposes a substantial health economic burden on the UK’s NHS, comparable to that of managing obesity (£5.0 billion).

Io-Cyte’s innovative treatment combats multiple barriers to wound healing. It prevents the formation of stubborn biofilms of bacteria in the wound base that can delay or even stop wounds from healing. The activated biomaterial kills bacteria in the wound, is anti-inflammatory and absorbs excess fluid from the wound.

The company has enlisted the Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) to undertake an anti-microbial challenge study to evaluate the effectiveness of the Io-Cyte material against the most common microbial pathogens found in wounds. The pre-funded support from the Bioeconomy Growth Programme enabled the company to access the BDC’s laboratory facilitates and expertise in microbial assessment.

Rosie Nolan, the BDC’s technologist said Our laboratory trial provided further evidence that the Io-Cyte wound dressing material is highly effective against human pathogens such as MRSA, Candida albicans and Streptococcus pyogenes. We observed a significant reduction in numbers of microbial counts with the activated material, compared to the standard wound dressing.

The company, who was recently awarded Innovate UK SMART funding to complete development work and submit their first product FDA registration, is now planning the first clinical study on the Io-Cyte dressing.

David Farrar, Io-Cyte’s Research Manager added: Having the BDC expertise on our doorstep in the region, with funding support, has really helped Io-Cyte as a start-up to get to the next stage in development. With this boost to our testing, we are optimistic that the first patients with problem wounds can be offered this treatment in the next 12 months.

1m UK patients are treated for complex, slow healing wounds every year

£5b economic burden on the UK’s NHS

Significant reduction in numbers of microbial counts with the activated material

Notes to editor:

This project has received funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020

The York, North Yorkshire and East Riding (YNYER) LEP awarded a grant of £1M to the BDC as part of the Local Growth Fund (LGF) support which funded the equipment used to carry out this project. For more information visit: https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/funding/local-growth-fund/