With its innovative technology that can simultaneously fight wound infection and actively promote healing, Colzyx is revolutionising approaches to wound care.
Treating acute and chronic wounds is becoming increasingly difficult for healthcare systems around the world. Comorbidities in older adults, biofilm colonisations and the rise of drug resistance mean innovations in wound care are desperately needed to suitably meet the needs of affected patients and reduce associated healthcare costs. Wounds that fail to heal are susceptible to infection which can prolong the healing process and dramatically impact a patient’s quality of life; in the worst-case scenarios, patients may require amputations or develop life-threatening conditions like sepsis.
With a key aim of promoting wound healing and simultaneously fighting wound infection, Swedish company Colzyx is revolutionising approaches to wound care and harnessing the power of the body’s own defence system. Its novel medical device, WOUNDCOM, utilises highly bioactive peptides derived from the human collagen VI molecules which have exhibited antibacterial activity, even against multi-drug resistant microorganisms, and actively promote wound closure. Lorna Rothery spoke to the newly appointed CEO of Colzyx, Karin Bryder, to discuss the latest developments regarding the company’s WOUNDCOM solution as well as how its other two applications – COMBAT and BIOCOM – are progressing.
We last spoke to you in February when you had just successfully concluded a biological evaluation for WOUNDCOM, how have things been progressing since then?
We have now done everything required from a safety perspective for clinical trials and have moved into the next phase where we have contracted a Contract Research Organisation (CRO) for the clinical trial and are looking for clinics. Subsequently, we hope to finalise all the necessary documentation and present this to the ethical committee later this year.
Meanwhile, we are continuing to collate all the background information needed for production; our producer completed the second scale-up required to be able to create all the materials for the clinical trials and this will be included in all of the examinations and tests for the product. Everything is progressing well.
Can you highlight some of the current unmet needs faced by wound and wound infection patients, and how Colzyx is trying to address these challenges?
Wounds are an open intrusion of your first defence mechanism – the skin, and are therefore susceptible to bacterial infection. If a wound does not follow the natural healing trajectory, the body can then shut down so the wound cannot fully heal.
There are other collagen solutions on the market, and while those can kickstart the healing process, our solution supports healing while simultaneously fighting bacterial wound infection. The peptides that are within the WOUNDCOM sheet have active wound healing mechanisms and antibacterial properties.
The demand for alternatives to the classic antibiotics is high and we have shown that the peptides included in WOUNDCOM are active on multiple resistant bacteria.
WOUNDCOM will work on any wound, which means the potential market is huge; there are wounds that heal quite well but can get infected and so our product could help to reinforce the body’s healing mechanism. It could help sufferers of diabetic ulcers, for instance, even possibly save them from amputation. WOUNDCOM could also be beneficial in the surgical field, for example, following the removal of a cancerous tumour where the area can be very sensitive and susceptible to wound infection. Similarly, if a person experiences an acute injury, the portability and adaptability of WOUNDCOM mean they could apply the product straightaway to help stem the bleeding and prevent wound infection.
While the market is large, you equally have to have a focus area, so the current clinical trial is looking at treating difficult-to-heal or chronic wounds. These are commonly seen among older adults and in the lower leg area. If the wound does not heal, the patient is treated with antibiotics which can help to treat the initial wound infection, but then the wound can become infected again after a couple of months. It is a very long process and can affect the patient’s quality of life. Our product can help to reduce the need to prescribe antibiotics and, in turn, enable people to become more mobile which is important when there is an underlying issue like low blood circulation. If we can help to heal their wounds, it can help patients heal in other ways too.
Clinical trials can be frustrating because they are expensive and take a long time, and you need to be specific to get clear results. In an ideal world, we would be able to test a range of disease symptoms to show that our product is effective on every type of wound, but you cannot do that with a small company. However, while we are undertaking the clinical trial, we are looking ahead to the next steps.
Can you tell me about the latest developments with Colzyx’s other products, BIOCOM and COMBAT?
COMBAT is a pharmaceutical product that can be used to prevent bacterial wound infection, per se, and we are looking into how to develop it further, whether that is individually as a company or by taking a more collaborative approach. We have looked into what is actually needed to be able to push the knowledge about our peptides one step further. This could be regarding solubility, stability and the minimal concentration needed to kill bacteria in different formulations.
BIOCOM is a coating for artificial implants. We have done all the experiments to show that it works, and there is a lot of basic knowledge to show how the peptide should be utilised, in terms of its antibacterial and proliferative properties. This product is more similar to WOUNDCOM than COMBAT, which is solely an antibiotic. We are still working on the target healthcare area for BIOCOM and considering how we would collaborate with producers of the implants that this product would coat.
How do you hope the company will evolve?
We have been working on the best course of action to optimise the huge assets that Colzyx has, which as a new CEO for the company, is really exciting. One of the things I am trying to do is figure out how to use all the peptides because while in WOUNDCOM we have two peptides, there might be opportunities to utilise their antimicrobial properties in other ways; we need to do some more experiments to see where these opportunities might lie.
Colzyx is the most amazing company to work for because we have a lot going on and there are so many possibilities for other projects. Our three aforementioned projects are the main ones but there are still other ways we can adapt those and could commercialise them earlier or use them sooner than developing a fully-fledged pharmaceutical product. To develop a pharmaceutical product with the small number of people we have in the company at the moment is quite difficult.
The basics are there, we have the assets, now we need to ensure we have all the knowledge about the peptides to better understand what our next steps should be.
This article is from issue 23 of Health Europa Quarterly. Click here to get your free subscription today.