(UPM, Helsinki, 20.8.2020 at 10:00 EET) FibDex® wound dressing – made from nanofibrillar cellulose by UPM Biomedicals – has taken a significant step in its path to market, as leading medical device distributor Steripolar Oy now sells the product in Finland. FibDex is the first clinical product of renowned forest-based bioindustry company UPM and shows promising signs for future developments, such as cell therapy.
”We are excited to offer this Finnish product, made from Finnish raw material, first in the world to Finnish healthcare professionals and patients,” said Johana Kuncova-Kallio, Director of UPM Biomedicals. “Nanofibrillar cellulose has proven its potential both in the development of cell therapies and in clinical applications, and we are committed to further innovation.”
Kaj Dahlström, CEO of Steripolar, added: “We were attracted to the ingenuity of FibDex. We are always looking for products and solutions that offer diverse and pain-free healing, while minimizing damage to the environment.”
UPM Biomedicals products are made from Finnish birch traceably sourced from sustainably managed forests. FibDex was developed in collaboration with researchers from the University of Helsinki and surgeons and nursing staff from the Helsinki Burn Centre. The research and development began in 2007 and has so far led to three commercial products; including the GrowDex® and GrowInk™ hydrogels used in drug development and 3D cell culture.
FibDex was granted the CE-marking in May 2019. This approval was a significant milestone, allowing the marketing and sale of the wound dressing in the EU. Registration with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also pending and will open the doors to US markets in due time.
FibDex wound dressings have been tested by plastic surgeons and found to offer optimal conditions for wound healing. The dressings gradually peel away as wounds heal, eliminating the need for dressing changes and avoiding damage to the new skin. This is highly convenient for patients and cost efficient for hospitals or health centres.
”Even after small-scale testing, I hold nanocellulose in high regard. We are very keen to continue these experiments, as long-term use will highlight the differences,” said plastic surgeon Jyrki Vuola from the Helsinki Burn Centre.
The biomedical research of nanocellulose has produced more than dozen patents in over 80 countries. The research has been led by Professor Marjo Yliperttula from the University of Helsinki, who stated: “Nanocellulose has surprised the researchers time and time again. Several new treatments are being studied, promising faster healing and discharge of patients.”
“The big thing going forward is that medicines, antibacterial agents, and even stem cells, can be placed into the nanocellulose membrane. The fact that nanocellulose appears to be applicable to freeze-drying of biological materials for biobanks also offers significant growth prospects,” Yliperttula added.
UPM is continually strengthening its role and patent portfolio in the biomedicals sector, one of the fastest growing fields, the significance of which has only been underlined during the past few months. This year, UPM Biomedicals’ team has grown by several professionals, the latest addition being Kaija Ojala, who specialises in clinical sales and product development.
UPM Biomedicals is the forerunner in producing high quality nanofibrillar cellulose for medical and life science applications. More than 300 patents protect the existing and future products that rely on the Finnish birch pulp. We actively collaborate with universities, research centers and key industrial partners on innovations and products in the field of high throughput drug screening, personalized medicine, advanced cell therapies, 3D bioprinting, tissue engineering and wound dressing.
We deliver renewable and responsible solutions and innovate for a future beyond fossils across six business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, UPM Communication Papers and UPM Plywood. As the industry leader in responsibility we are committed to the UN Business Ambition for 1.5°C and the science-based targets to mitigate climate change. We employ 18,700 people worldwide and our annual sales are approximately EUR 10.2 billion. Our shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd. UPM Biofore – Beyond fossils. www.upm.com