Healing the wounded

OmegaGenesis, Mayo Clinic to develop nanomaterials for angiogenesis applications

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GILROY, Calif.—OmegaGenesis Inc. announced in December that it signed a discovery and validation deal involving nanomaterials developed by not-for-profit medical group practice Mayo Clinic for angiogenesis applications.

The agreement gives OmegaGenesis, which was founded in February 2008 with the purpose of creating products based on core research and technologies developed at Mayo Clinic, the exclusive license to take nanomaterials the clinic has developed to manage human body functions at a nanoscale—the cell and sub-cell level—and test their potential angiogenesis characteristics. Eventually, OmegaGenesis hopes to develop and commercialize therapies to be used for wound healing. Financial terms were not released.

OmegaGenesis has worked with Mayo to develop ways to safely generate large-scale quantities of nanoscale europium hydroxide rods shown to promote the formation of new blood vessels. Pre-clinical testing of the europium hydroxide nanorods for applications in wound healing, the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers and bone healing will conclude in the second quarter of this year, with clinical studies anticipated to begin in the second half of this year.

According to OmegaGenesis CEO Oostur Raza, the nanomaterials will enable doctors to treat disease at the cellular level, versus at the conventional tissue or systemic level, which is less invasive to the patient. The market potential for the nanomaterials is wide-ranging, he says, because angiogenesis plays a role in a wide variety of medical applications, from tissue reactivation and healing of common wounds to controlling the growth and spread of cancer and malignancies.

"If you look at the human body, when it is not able to deliver enough nutrients or blood flow to some places, either you try to cure the problem or kill the root cause, which means supplying the body with more blood flow," Raza says. "Here, we have the opportunity to use nanomatierials to improve blood flow."

Raza says the next step in the development of these nanomaterials is to use them for early and pre-disease intervention, starting with diabetes.

"Diabetic foot ulcers are caused by not enough nutrients getting to the foot, and as diabetes develops, the ulcer continues to get worse," he says. "We're looking at an application where nanomaterials could be embedded in a cream that could be applied to the ulcer to improve blood flow so the ulcers don't get worse. This is something that could have an immediate impact." DDN

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