Venture Center
Serigen Mediproducts

Pioneering Silk-based Solutions for Wound Healing

Anuya Nisal was always interested in science research and was inclined to do something that would not be confined to a laboratory but would find a commercial use. A chemical engineer by training, Anuya did a BE in Polymer Engineering from Pune, a Master’s in Materials Science from the US and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from IIT Bombay, before setting up her own group at the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune. She was keen to translate the technology she was working on into a product that would find wide commercial application. That was also one of the reasons for her joining NCL, where the focus, in addition to fundamental science, was on working closely with industry. It was at NCL that the seeds of her venture were sown.

Dr. Ashish Lele, a distinguished polymer scientist and presently the Director of NCL, had started work on researching the uses of silk. At NCL, Anuya collaborated with Dr. Ashish Lele to explore the diverse applications of silk, a versatile biomaterial abundant in India. Recognizing silk's potential beyond traditional use in textiles and sutures, they delved into its dissolution properties - dissolving silk threads into solutions and processing them into different shapes and structures and making scaffolds out of them - envisioning its role in tissue regeneration.

Parallel discussions with Dr. Premnath, Director of Venture Center, on use of silk in biomedical applications resulted in two patent families. They showed that silk can be converted into forms as hard as your bone or as soft as cartilage. As biomaterial scientists, the fact that you could span this entire range of properties, excited the team at Serigen. Then followed conversations with doctors to better understand target applications for silk-based products, beyond silk sutures.

The first problem definition that they looked at was bone regeneration, driven by interactions with orthopedic surgeons who highlighted the limitations of current methods like auto grafting. Recognizing the need for a substitute that matches the performance of auto grafts while offering the convenience of synthetic materials, Serigen turned to silk due to its mechanical strength and ability to form scaffolds with pores conducive to natural bone deposition. Crucially, they devised a method to control the rate of scaffold dissolution, a unique property not found in other materials, ensuring compatibility with the body's regeneration process.

The animal studies done as per ISO standards were led by Dr. Swati Shukla, COO of Serigen. These studies confirmed safety of the scaffolds and several tests were successfully completed before permission to do clinical trials on patients was obtained. The patents describe the conversion of silk into different scaffolds for tissue regeneration. It is a broad patent, for soft and hard tissues and the patents have now been granted in India, Europe, Japan and the US. The animal studies confirmed safety of the scaffolds and several tests were successfully completed before permission to do clinical trials on patients was obtained.

The second product in Serigen’s portfolio is an innovative wound care solution, addressing the challenges associated with complex wounds like diabetic foot ulcers and second-degree burns. Traditional cotton gauze dressings often adhere to wounds, causing significant discomfort during removal and hindering the healing process. Seriderm, Serigen's advanced wound care dressing, mitigates these issues by offering non-adherence, superior absorption, and optimal moisture vapor transmission. This combination facilitates swift and trouble-free wound healing, providing relief to patients and healthcare providers alike.

The final product is Serimat for regenerating soft tissue. Thus, each product in their product portfolio comes with a different purpose. One is for regenerating a hard tissue like bone, Serimat is for regenerating a soft tissue and Seriderm is an external wound care product, demonstrating the versatility and power of the platform.