EIT Health at Uppsala University

3 million EUR to new method to treat chronic wounds


The EU Commission funds 3 million EUR to Evelina Vågesjö, researcher at Uppsala University and CEO of Ilya Pharma, for further development of a new technique to treat acute and chronic wounds.

Evelina Vågesjö, Uppsala University & Ilya Pharma

With genetically modified lactic acid bacteria, Evelina Vågesjö, researcher at Uppsala University's Department of Medical Cell Biology, hope to accelerate the healing process of chronic wounds with up to 80 percent, a vision shared by the EU Commission, now contributing 3 million EUR for further development of the innovative technology.
– This is amazing news and important money that will finance our coming year during which we will verify the safety and efficacy in pigs, produce our bio-therapeutics in an industrial scale and launch our first clinical trial, an important milestone along the way in creating a new medicine, says a very pleased Evelina Vågesjö.

Less than five years ago, Evelina Vågesjö, then a PhD student, started reasoning about the possibility to modify lactic acid bacteria to deliver biological drugs to sores. Today, interest for the innovation reaches far beyond the laboratory at Uppsala Biomedicinska Centrum. The potential of applying the technology to all acute and chronic wounds, thus also contributing to reduced antibiotic use, made EIT Health, the European Consortium, which, on behalf of the EU, approaches society's health challenges, give early support to the project.
– The support from EIT Health gave us both quality recognition and access to a larger European network. Today, I and Mia Phillipson, professor of physiology and my former supervisor, continue the development of our product within the company Ilya Pharma, currently comprising about ten people. The EU Commission's contribution confirms that we are gathering the right expertise and are doing things right regarding our new technology, says Evelina Vågesjö.

The grant is given from Horizon 2020, the EU's largest research and innovation program yet, aiming to make European research world leading and to help good ideas along the way from laboratory to market. Competition is tough and to receive funding, projects have to be run by companies employing fewer than 250 people but with an ambition to become world leaders in their field.
– We are among the youngest companies to receive funding from the program, and the support is due to our development of a drug that can change the way in which authorities and industry think about biological drugs and, on at the same time improve healthcares ability to treat wounds. This is a fantastic journey, and now it's time to speed up the pace and deliver the goods, just as we are used to, says Evelina Vågesjö.

Contact Evelina Vågesjö, Uppsala universitet/Ilya Pharma
Read More Mia Phillipsons research
Read More Ilya Pharma

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