Massey Ventures, Gilles McIndoe and AFT to develop scar treatment

Wednesday 24 April 2024

Massey Ventures and the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute have reached an agreement with AFT Pharmaceuticals to develop a topical treatment for keloid and hypertrophic scarring.

A bulky keloid scar forming at the site of abdominal surgery. Attribution: Htirgan, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The deal is the second struck between the parties, following their work on a topical treatment for Strawberry Birthmarks in 2022.

AFT Pharmaceuticals announced it is to begin the development of a topical treatment for keloid and hypertrophic scarring with Massey Ventures, the commercialisation company of Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University, and the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute, a New Zealand charitable research foundation.

The agreement extends a strategic collaboration between the three organisations that commenced in 2022 to develop a topical treatment for strawberry birthmarks in children.

Keloids are thickened scars that extend the boundaries of an injury and can be itchy and painful. The scars can arise from any type of injury, from a shaving cut or piercing to a severe burn, and often become disfiguring. The cause of keloids is not fully understood and there are no truly effective treatment options available to patients.

AFT, Massey Ventures and the Gillies McIndoe Institute will focus on the development of currently confidential medicines to create the first effective topical treatment of keloids and other scars. A non-invasive topical medicine would be a valuable treatment option for this condition.

AFT Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Hartley Atkinson says, “We are delighted to extend our collaboration with Massey Ventures and Gilles McIndoe and build on the early successes we are seeing with our strawberry birthmark project.

"We see the scar tissue programme as a very worthwhile area to help the treatment of patients with disfiguring keloid scars. It also offers an attractive global commercial opportunity.

“The addition of this potential treatment to AFT’s portfolio of six ongoing research and development projects is aligned with the group’s strategic focus on investing for significant long term international growth.”

Massey Ventures Senior Commercialisation Manager Dr Sean Mackay described the agreement as an exciting opportunity for the university.

“Partnerships with companies like AFT are essential for realising a technology’s full potential. AFT has the networks, skills and resources to make the most of a potentially life-changing medicine like this, and it is exciting to partner with Hartley and his team on this journey."

Gillies McIndoe Research Institute Director Dr Clint Gray says, “Current treatment options for keloid and hypertrophic scarring are limited, involving invasive procedures like surgery or injections, which are not always effective and can lead to further scarring. Our topical treatment aims to modulate the skin’s healing process, preventing the excessive collagen deposition that characterises these scars.

“For too long, individuals with keloid and hypertrophic scars have had to navigate a landscape of ineffective treatments. A topical solution not only offers less invasive options but also the convenience of self-application, potentially transforming the landscape of scar management.”

The initial focus of the collaboration will be on the finalisation of ingredients for a topical treatment. Following this, AFT will embark on a full drug development program involving manufacturing and toxicology work followed by clinical studies, leveraging AFT’s global clinical trial capability.

Presently, AFT has developed and out-licensed patented pharmaceutical products in over 100 countries around the globe and to date has launched in over 70 countries including the largest pharmaceutical market in the world, the United States.

Related news

Animal health collaboration brings Massey disbudding innovation closer to market

Monday 6 November 2023

A game-changing technology for the improved welfare of farm animals is one step closer to market, thanks to Massey researchers.

Massey Ventures wins Best Licensing Deal for birthmark treatment

Wednesday 25 October 2023

The award was won at the 2023 Australasian Research Commercialisation Awards in the Gold Coast.

Massey's innovators showcased amongst 2023 KiwiNet Awards finalists

Friday 1 September 2023

The university is showcasing its entrepreneurial talent with five finalists being named in the 11th annual KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards.