EIT Health at Uppsala University

New Swedish technology to cure chronic wounds

2017-01-10

With genetically rebuilt lactic acid bacteria Evelina Vågesjö, new doctor at Uppsala University and president of Ilya Pharma, is well on her way to solve one of healthcares greatest challenges.

- Chronic wounds are a very common problem that causes extreme agony for the victims and requires great healthcare resources. With our new biotherapeutics, we hope to accelerate the healing process with up to 80 percent, while the use of antibiotics can be reduced during treatment!
Less than five years have passed since Evelina Vågesjö, then newly doctoral student at Uppsala University, began considering the possibilities of modifying lactic acid bacteria to deliver biologics to the wound. Today the doctor's hat is on the shelf with Evelina taking the project further as CEO of the newly formed company Ilya Pharma. Her redesigned bacteria exhibit unique effects in experiments on mice, and during 2017 the first clinical tests awaits.
- For the next phase, we need to bring in about three million Euro, but we are receiving excellent support from Uppsala Innovation Centre and UU Innovation, and our results arouses great interest in both the pharmaceutical industry and from venture capital companies, so it appears we will manage funding, says Evelina Vågesjö laboratory Uppsala Biomedical Center.

The new technology attracts attention far beyond the borders of Sweden. EIT Health – the European consortium that has EU’s mission to take on the healthcare challenges facing society – chose early on to support the development of Ilya Pharma, and when Evelina Vågesjö presented the results of their work at the EIT Health's annual meeting in Barcelona she was awarded - in hard competition from other young researchers - continued funding to take her innovation further.
- Receiving the support of EIT Health gives us both a qualitymark that will hopefully facilitate our future operations, as well as access to a wider European network. During 2017 we are invited to present Ilya Pharma at the Global Investor Forum in Maastricht, and we also hope to initiate new partnerships at the EIT Health Matchmaking Event in Uppsala which can strengthen our position in major European calls.

Still, much work remains before Evelina Vågesjös bacteria are ready to meet the market, but she and her colleagues at Ilya Pharma heads firmly forward. Their patents are in demand and if test responses remain positive the negotiating regarding license manufacturing and external ownership draws nearer.
- So far we have because of limited resources focused on ulcers in patients with diabetes, but our technology has the potential to be applied to all acute and chronic wounds, and as soon as we validate the concept, we can take the next big step on the amazing journey my former supervisor, Professor Mia Phillipson let me begin. Today we are five people and a number of consultants who collaborate in this project and Ilya Pharma, and wherever the road takes us it is a great inspiration to experience the powerful transmission that occurs when different skills come together and strive towards a common goal!

See Video Ilya Pharma. Modified lactic acid bacteria accelerating wound healing
Contact Evelina Vågesjö, Uppsala University/Ilya Pharma

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