September 28, 2016 · 0 Comments
University of British Columbia (UBC) Professor of Surgery Dr. Aziz Ghahary (left) and Dr. Ryan Hartwell, Chief Science Officer of BirchBioMed, Inc., co-founders of ground-breaking anti-scarring and autoimmune therapies that UBC has exclusively licensed to BirchBioMed. These two therapeutics are being viewed by leading medical authorities as important breakthroughs that have the potential to impact millions of people worldwide.
By Mark Pavilons
Being part of “the cure” is an amazing, life-altering experience.
A King- and Vancouver-based firm, a spin-off of the University of British Columbia, holds the key to new medical therapies that may successfully eliminate scarring and reverse certain autoimmune diseases, including, Type 1 Diabetes (insulin-dependent) and Alopecia.
Kingscross residents Mark Miller and Susan Elliott, co-founders of BirchBioMed, look forward to the day when they will be able to exclaim: “I had something to do with this.”
BirchBioMed holds the exclusive world-wide pharmaceutical licence from UBC for two breakthrough therapeutic technologies. Hopes are, the lead drug, FS2, will replace all existing treatments for several diseases.
“Scarring affects hundreds of millions of people,” said Dr. Ryan Hartwell, who, along with Dr. Aziz Ghahary, founded the FS2 technology. “… the physical and emotional toll it takes is devastating. The simplicity of our topical treatment holds the promise of improving patient quality-of-life and potentially achieving dramatic reductions in the cost of treatment.”
Human trials will soon begin on FS2, which has already proven safe and effective, preventing the formation of scars and promoting the breakdown of existing scars, as well as reversing Type 1 Diabetes and Alopecia, when combined with a simple, one-time cell therapy. BirchBioMed is thrilled with the results, which have already received world-wide acclaim.
The treatment has completed a Health Canada approved Phase 1 trial.
The double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical study involving 40 healthy volunteers demonstrates the safety of topically applying FS2 cream at the maximum feasible dose with no adverse effects.
These technologies are being viewed as important breakthroughs that have the potential to impact millions of people worldwide.
“Until now there has not been a single therapeutic that can satisfactorily target the molecular aspects of scarring, which results from the body over-repairing after an injury, surgery or disease,” said Dr. Ghahary, regarded as one of the top experts in scarring and burn injuries. He’s also the director of the British Columbia Firefighters Burn and Wound Healing Laboratory, part of the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI).
Miller said it’s the first technology that UBC, or any other Canadian academic institution, has advanced from discover through phase 1 trials, with support solely from government and not-for-profit donors.
FS2 a small molecule (roughly the size of aspirin) that the body produces naturally, is an end-stage metabolite, which means that, once it is created in the body, it is no longer modified before being excreted. It’s abundant in a woman’s body during pregnancy, and has been found to protect the fetus from being rejected by the body as a foreign substance.
FS2 works by stopping the body from over-producing scar tissue, both inside and out. Not only does it prevent scarring from taking place right after damage or surgery, it can actually breakdown scarring that has already taken place. This has tremendous benefits in treating skin damage caused by various conditions, as well as burns. By using FS2 on sutures themselves, it can prevent scarring from ever taking place. Preliminary tests show efficacy within 60 days.
Dr. Hartwell approached Miller with what turned out to be “the real thing.” They joined forces, assembled a brilliant team and are taking the therapies to fruition and ultimately to the public.
“This is one of the most exciting efforts I’ve ever been involved in,” Miller said.
“It is our intention to develop our therapeutics to deliver products that can serve the entire global market and address a number of healthcare’s costliest segments,” he added.
FS2 can be used orally, injected or as a topical treatment and holds the promise of changing cosmetic surgery.
People suffering from scarring, as well as Alopecia and Type-1 Diabetes, are desperate to get something that actually works, Elliott noted.
There’s currently nothing like FS2 and AI-001 anywhere in the world.
Miller noted the potential benefits, particularly with internal scarring, are “huge.”
Miller pointed out he’s seen, first-hand, the passion to discover and help mankind. His team of experts are not only brilliant, but compassionate individuals. He’s also seen the human tragedies and can’t wait for this therapy to start helping people.
Being involved at this stage is an opportunity of a lifetime, Elliott noted. The more time they spend on the project the more interesting the process becomes. And they’ve met a lot of great people along the journey.
Launching BirchBioMed two years ago and wading through the mountains of reports, test results, legal documents and patents has been consuming for both Miller and Elliott.
Phase 2 is expected to take the next two years.
More than 100 million people in the developed world suffer from severe scarring. Wounds of all types (surgical and trauma) contribute 4% of all medical costs.
Autoimmune diseases are responsible for over 80 known conditions and afflict an estimated 5 to 8 per cent (365 to 584 million people) of the world’s population. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that as of 2011, approximately 29 to 49 million people were living with type 1 diabetes worldwide, a number expected to grow to an estimated 55 to 61 million people by 2030.
Autoimmune diseases are among the costliest in terms of their toll on the global population.
Miller, a business executive and entrepreneur with extensive corporate experience, has held executive management positions at, and served in a consultancy capacity with a number of top Fortune 500 companies. He is the co-founder of BirchBioMed, the co-founder and board chair of The Carlisle Group, Inc., a full service marketing and publishing company, and a board director of ATS Biotech, Inc.
Miller is also an experienced journalist, and has held editorial and senior management positions with The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Hearst Newspapers and Gannett Newspapers. He was twice nominated by his editors for the Pulitzer Prize.
Ms. Elliott is an entrepreneur with extensive marketing and sales experience that includes executive and senior management positions with some of the world’s top corporations. Founder of Elliott, Clark Communications, she has developed strategic communications and orchestrated product launches for many prominent companies.
A long-time member of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), Ms. Elliott was awarded the group’s highest honour, the Tony Sloga Award, in 2005.
To find out more about these remarkable treatments, visit www.birchbiomed.com