£1.3M for promising new musculoskeletal treatment

University of Glasgow spinout company Causeway Therapeutics has been awarded a grant of £1.3m from Innovate UK to develop a promising new treatment for a common but costly musculoskeletal problem.

The company currently develops therapies for soft tissue injuries including damage to tendons collectively known as tendinopathies, which account for between 30-50% of all sporting injuries and cost the NHS an estimated £250m per year.

Tendinopathy is the medical name for diseases associated with overuse and injury of the tendon. It’s estimated that 11% of 1 billion people in the US and Europe will suffer from some form of tendinopathy during their lifetime, equating to 1.375 million cases per year.

To treat tendinopathy in humans, Causeway has developed TenoMiR, which switches off disease pathways, restoring tendon function and structure.

The company will use this new grant to begin Phase 1 human trials for their new therapy for the treatment of tendinopathy in 24 patients early next year.

Mr Neal Millar, co-founder and clinical senior lecturer in orthopaedics at the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation and trial lead, said: “Tendinopathy represents a serious unmet clinical need, with one in three GP consultations in the UK being due to soft tissue tendon disease.

“Given the basic standard of care remains physiotherapy, which is only effective approximately 50% of cases, leaving the remaining patients with tendons that are weakened and painful, we hope our discovery will one day transform patient care in this field.

Dr Derek Gilchrist, Co-Founder and CEO of Causeway Therapeutics added , “We believe TenoMiR is a novel regenerative therapeutic, with the potential to transform the treatment of tendon disease. We’re very grateful to Innovate UK for the funding to hopefully make this possible.”

The trials will see the TenoMiR technology – a replacement therapy – locally injected into injured tendons, with the hope it will restore the tendon to ‘injury-free’ levels and fault-free tendon repair.

Mr Neal Millar has also just been awarded a MRC New Investigator Grant worth £670K to explore damage mechanisms associated with human tendon disease. This is a first such award to an orthopaedic surgeon and promotes investigation of musculoskeletal soft tissue disorders.

Enquiries: ali.howard@glasgow.ac.uk or elizabeth.mcmeekin@glasgow.ac.uk / 0141 330 6557 or 0141 330 4831

First published: 30 May 2018

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