News & Views
Investment to Back Promising Treatment for Tendon Injuries
Aug 11 2017 Comments 0
Causeway Therapeutics, a University of Glasgow spin-out developing a new treatment for tendon problems (tendinopathies) in humans and horses, has received a £1m investment from Mediqventure and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.
Tendinopathies account for between 30 and 50% of all sporting injuries; around 1 in 10 people will be affected by tendinopathies in their lifetime, usually caused by repetitive strain or major trauma. Treatments reportedly cost the NHS £250 million per year, often with unsatisfactory results for patients. The worldwide market for treatments is estimated at around £3.85bn.
While working in the laboratory of Professor Iain McInnes at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation, Causeway co-founders Dr Derek Gilchrist and Mr Neal Millar discovered that a single microRNA-miR29a plays a key role in regulating the production of collagens, the proteins that give tendons their strength. Replacement of Type I collagen with Type III collagen is characteristic of tendinopathy; loss of miR29a in human tendons drives an increase in Type III collagen production. Causeway’s lead product, TenoMiR™, is a replacement for the natural miR29a that is depleted in tendinopathy.
“We’re delighted that Causeway is receiving the backing of Mediqventures and SIB” said Dr Derek Gilchrist, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Causeway. “Translating our detailed understating of the molecular processes driving tendinopathy into a promising therapy has been a true multidisciplinary collaboration between scientists, surgeons and veterinarians in Glasgow and internationally.”
Neil Millar, co-founder and clinical senior research fellow in orthopaedics at the University of Glasgow, said: “We have applied high-level molecular interrogation to an under investigated yet highly prevalent and burdensome disease process.” The product “has the potential to transform the treatment of tendon injuries, getting patients back to normal quicker,” he added.
Declan Doogan, a Partner at Mediqventures, an alumnus of the University of Glasgow and Visiting Professor at the Medical School will be joining Causeway’s board as Chairman.
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