University of Manchester spin-out company, Gelexir Healthcare Ltd (Gelexir), the creator of a revolutionary non-surgical procedure for the treatment of Chronic Lower Back Pain, has secured a total £353,102 investment from The University of Manchester, The North West Fund for Biomedical (NWF4B) managed by SPARK Impact, Central Manchester Foundation Trust (CMFT) and Business Angels.
The company, which was founded on the back of discoveries and developments made at the University over the past 10 years will use the financial backing from investors to continue its program of advanced clinical trials scheduled to take place towards the end of 2015.
Commenting on the receipt of the funding, Gelexir CEO Dr Philippe Jenny said:
"This funding is a great step forward as it provides the resources to transfer the discovery from the bench to the industrial world and pushes the technology through the demanding validation tests, heading towards the first patient."
Gelexir provides an innovative and cost-effective treatment for Chronic Lower Back Pain caused by Degenerative Disc Disease. The process addresses the condition at an early stage and involves the injection of polymer microgels that restore the disc's shock absorptive properties and replicate the bio-mechanical properties of a healthy intervertebral disc.
Dr Jenny added: “It has the potential to offer an alternative to spinal fusion techniques, which require invasive surgery and significant recovery times. This will be a great step forward in providing an improved treatment and faster recovery for patients.”
Professor Tony Freemont, Head of Manchester Medical School, and Gelexir Board Member hailed the treatment's potential significance for back pain sufferers. Professor Freemont said: "There is a real need for a simple, safe, easily administered treatment for back pain that is refractory to simple drug and physiotherapy, but does not necessitate major spine surgery. This funding will allow Gelexir to get closer to taking its product, which at its current state of development appears to fulfil all these criteria, closer to clinical trials."
The cash injection will provide the means for Gelexir to continue laboratory-based development and trials - with testing scheduled to commence with the help of patients in the latter half of 2015.
UMIP, the University’s agent for intellectual property (IP) commercialisation, has provided IP and business development expertise and also early-stage Proof-of-Principle funding and seed corn funding from its UMIP's Premier Fund. Translational funding has also been provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The North West Fund for Biomedical is a sub-fund of The North West Fund, a substantial pot of money jointly financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.
Notes for editors
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Clare Coyne / Roland Dransfield PR
Gelexir Healthcare is based on discoveries made in the laboratories of Professor Tony Freemont, Head of the Medical School at the University of Manchester and Professor Brian Saunders at the Manchester School of Materials.
Gelexir’s innovative approach involves the use of injectable biomaterials that are specifically designed to replicate the bio-mechanical properties of a healthy intervertebral disc. The technology holds potential for further orthopaedic applications.
UMIP – The University of Manchester’s agent for Intellectual Property (IP) commercialisation – is central to the University’s innovation strategy and helps turn world-leading research into world-beating companies, products and services. In the last nine years, the University’s spin-out businesses have attracted over £225M of funding, whilst its intellectual property has been successfully licensed to multi-national companies and local business alike.