UCL News


Gel that halves wound healing times wins Medical Futures award

31 October 2003

A bio-active gel developed by UCL scientists that is capable of healing wounds in half the time it takes currently, last night won the award for the Best Biotechnology Start-Up at the Medical Futures Innovation Awards in London.

Nexagon works by speeding up the rate of wound closure and reducing inflammation, and the UCL team believes that the gel has a wide range of potential applications, including cosmetic surgery and chronic wounds, as well as a possible application in reducing the spread of damage following spinal cord injury. Elderly patients in particular could benefit from the gel, as they are more prone to slow healing wounds and infection.

It is anticipated that the gel's potential impact on treatment and recovery times could reduce length of hospital stays and result in substantial savings to health services.

Dr David Becker, of UCL's Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, who led the project, said: "An estimated 95 million people worldwide suffering wounds each year, and yet few effective wound healing treatments have been developed, so there remains a large unmet need. I would like to see this product go through to clinical development so that patients can take advantage of this revolutionary technology as soon as possible."

Notes to editors:

  1. The Medical Futures Innovation Awards is a not-for-profit enterprise with all profits from the 2003 Awards being donated to the Genetic Interest Group and Cancer Research UK. The Medical Futures Innovation Awards aim to recognise and encourage innovation in all parts of the healthcare industry including the NHS, academia and private enterprises. In 2003 the Award received over 620 entries from a wide platform including scientists, hospital consultants, GPs, nurses and physiotherapists right through to the hospital porter. Entries can be at any stage, from concept to a fully implemented business. Winning a Medical Futures Innovation Award offers entrants the opportunity of both exposure and recognition amongst key opinion leaders in the healthcare arena as well as credibility with investors.
  2. The Best Biotechnology Start-Up Innovation was sponsored by Nomura Group.
  3. Nexagon works through manipulation of a novel target in wound healing, the gap junction (a small channel that allows cells to talk directly to their neighbours) accelerates wound healing by speeding up the rate of wound closure, reducing the degree of inflammation and reducing scar formation.