Wound Care Market Prepared to Take a Beating

Wound care has come a long way since the days of biting the bullet and gauze bandages. Recent advancements in the treatment of wounds and diabetic ulcers (often known as “bed sores”) have allowed health care professionals to utilize devices and techniques previously unheard of in the field of wound care, from collagen to computers and ionic silver.

Polyremedy, Inc ™ has developed the Personal Woundcare System™ (PWS) which is a single, integrated suite of IT-enabled services that uses expert, protocol-driven wound assessment and dressing tools, real-time feedback reports, and even the home delivery of personalized wound dressings. Polyremedy, Increceived FDA clearance on October 4th of this year for its specialized PolyFIT™ antimicrobial dressings that make up the therapeutic portion of the PWS. “This system enhances the consistency of wound care by advancing expert clinical workflows and delivering the right therapy to the right patient at the right time,” says President and CEO of Polyremedy, Inc ™ Mark Carbeau. Currently, Polyremedy’s Personal Woundcare System is the only software suite of its kind available on the market.

Hydrogels are insoluble polymer gels that help create and retain a moist environment for the epithelialization period healing in which new cells are laid down, and in addition to this, they liquefy necrotic tissues and are non-adherent, so removing them does not create any trauma to the wound bed. They can come in both gel and sheet form, and often contain additional ingredients to reduce the bioburden of healing. Significant progress has been made in the field of hydrogels in the last ten years. Biocure, a company specializing in embolotherapy, orthopedics, and wound care located out of Norcross, Georgia, is currently developing SprayGel©, a hydrogel that comes in spray form that releases nitric oxide, in collaboration with the Center for Military Biomaterials Research. SprayGel© currently has 510(k) clearance and is available for commercial partnering. Nitric oxide is a gas that can permeate cell membranes, and it has become widely accepted that its value in healing is unquestionable when nursing a serious wound back to health, particularly diabetic ulcers.

NeoMend™ is a company that specializes in post-operative bioadhesive hydrogel for the lungs called ProGEL™, which has 27 patents and is the only technology of its kind currently available in the US. As a hydrogel, it contains a cross linking component of polyethylene glycol and human serum albumin, the most abundant plasma protein in mammals. Earlier this year, ProGEL
™ received FDA approval.

Silver is a broad spectrum antimicrobial agent with no known medical allergies, and it has been used in the treatment of wounds since the introduction of silver sulfadiazine as a burn treatment agent in the 1960s. Today’s silver based products have evolved into controlled released products that will deliver a safe and effective amount of ionic silver every time, often for days, without any risk of cytotoxicity.

Aquamed™ is a company specializing in sheet-form hydrogel, and has a line of hydrogel that contains ionic silver. Aquamed uniquely cross-links its hydrogels using an electron beam accelerator, which eliminates the need for chemical cross-linking agents that may complicate or interfere with other additives.

While used for decades in cosmetics, collagen gels used in wound care is relatively new. It is a natural biomaterial with three different varieties specific to skin, although it can be used to assist in the growth of tendons and bones as well. Collagen acts as a hemostatic agent when applied to fresh wounds, and hastens the body’s own repair mechanisms. Wound Care Innovations™, makers of the Cellerate©RX program, specialize in both gel and powder collagen products to be applied to wounds, and when used in combination allows precise control of moisture levels within the wound.

Part of keeping a wound healthy is protecting the wound, and some companies, such as DM Systems™ and Darco International™, specialize in making sure wounds have sufficient armor to protect them from day to day danger. Darco International has been the #1 post-op shoe company in the world for over 25 years, cornering the market with the MedSurg™ shoe in 1985, and continues to be on the cutting edge of post-op foot and ankle technology. Their new Wound Care Shoe System (WCS™) is currently available on the market and is catered specifically to Wagner Grade 3 or higher diabetic foot ulcerations. They are coated on the inside with Plastazote©, a soft lining that provides a virtually friction-free contact surface that won’t exacerbate existing wounds. DM Systems, Inc, a rehabilitation and wound care company based out of Evanstown, Illinois, has been making the Heelift© suspension pad for over 20 years to assist in the prevention of diabetic heel ulcers, and recently released the Elbowlift© suspension pad, a similar device for the elbow intended to reduce the risk of olecranon bursitis, a condition that causes swelling and inflammation at the elbow.

On the investment end of wound care, Cardium Therapeutics is an investment firm focused on the acquisition and strategic development of innovative bio-medical product opportunities, as well as businesses that have the potential to address potential unmet medical needs, partnering and other economic monetizations. Their investment portfolio includes medical technology companies primarily focused on the development of innovative therapeutic products for wound healing and cardiovascular issues.

On November 3rd of this year, they were awarded a cash grant under the Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project to further its Generx clinical development program. Cardium Therapeutics will be presenting at the OneMedForum San Francisco 2011, at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, January 11th, 13th.

Wound care is a field in which a lot has happened in the last ten years, and thankfully for the industry, it is a field of medicine likely to exist forever.

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