Frog skin upcycled into collagen for wound and skin healing

August 1, 2022
Frog skin upcycled into collagen for wound and skin healing

Materials scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have developed a new clinical-grade collagen made from the waxy skin of a bullfrog – the scientists are tapping into amphibian-derived collagen products to speed up wound healing. Using marine by-products, such as fins, scales, and skins, to create valuable collagen is a sustainable way to upcycle and reduce waste for Singapore, as well as encourage a circular bioeconomy.

The frog-skin collagen was developed in collaboration with Singaporean medical technology firm Cuprina Wound Care Solutions (Cuprina), which specialises in developing products that caters to the different phases of chronic wound healing. Cuprina’s flagship product “Medifly,” a bio-dressing made of live, Lucilia cuprina maggots, is clinically proven to eliminate chronic wound infections and reduce amputation rates caused by wounds. It is used in hospitals and specialist clinics across Singapore for diabetic care.

Frog skin upcycled into collagen for wound and skin healing

Cuprina now holds exclusive rights to scale-up and commercial production of NTU’s latest patented technology. As part of the scale-up, Cuprina has established a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-compliant satellite lab at the Life Science Incubator in Singapore, to replicate NTU’s collagen extraction and dressing product development.

“Our focus is always on promoting and encouraging natural wound healing, intervening only to help the body do what it does organically. With NTU’s patented technology, we can develop a line of natural, amphibian-derived collagen products that are highly compatible with the human body. It is this compatibility that leads to improved healing outcomes over what is currently available,” said the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Cuprina Holdings, Carl Baptista.

The research and commercialisation effort will additionally help Singapore become a sustainable, resource-efficient, and climate-resilient nation, says Associate Professor Dalton Tay from NTU’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, an expert in animal and plant biomass valorisation, who developed the innovation.

“As part of the NTU 2025 Strategic Plan and its Sustainability Manifesto, we are developing innovative ways to turn waste into useful materials to tackle some of humanity’s greatest challenges. In our partnership with Cuprina, we are glad to be able to fulfill both the circular bioeconomy aims and the healthcare demands of Singapore with one innovation,” said Assoc. Prof. Tay.

The two-year research and scale-up partnership by NTU and Cuprina includes plans for the conduct of clinical trials in local hospitals to validate its safety and efficacy.

Chronic wounds affect 1 in 20 patients in Singapore; coupled with diabetes affecting 1 in 10 patients, and a rapidly aging population, the risk of developing a chronic wound is high and demand for affordable chronic wound care is expected to increase.


Category: Education, Features

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