Could your next collagen cream come from a jellyfish? A grant funding program called Innovative UK is banking on it.
Innovative UK, formerly known as the Technology Strategy Board, awarded a grant of nearly £100,000 last month to a healthcare and medical technology company which extracts collagen from jellyfish.
Jellagen, a business based in Pembrokeshire, was founded by entrepreneurs Alex Muhlholzl and Andrew Mearns Spragg in May 2013. Their goal is to become the first provider of raw, pharmacy-grade jellyfish collagen. They also hope to apply their product to medical practices like bone grafting and wound healing.
“We’re delighted to have been awarded this grant from Innovate UK,” Mearns Spragg told WalesOnline. “The grant will help support continued development of our jellyfish collagen products and expand the company into new markets.”
Jellagen will use the funding to improve the efficiency of its collagen extraction process, to improve the quality and quantity of the end product. The money will also go toward Jellagen’s manufacturing and nanotechnology departments, which develop medical devices to be used in tandem with the extracted collagen.
According to Muhlholzl, “These techniques will include the use of Atomic Force Microscopy, rheology and use of electrospinning methodologies in the development of new bone graft devices but will also increase our understanding of the mechanical properties of collagen at the nano-level.”
Jellagen will also be embarking on a year-long project in conjunction with Collagen Solutions Plc, University College London and Swansea University’s Centre for NanoHealth to develop new products and processes using the expertise of each institution.
“We require access to consistent supplies of medical-grade collagen derived from jellyfish and therefore made a strategic investment in Jellagen when it was founded,” Collagen Solutions Chief executive Stewart White told The Scotsman. “We see this as a reliable and renewable source of novel medical-grade collagen, which we can then help to fabricate into potential medical products.”
Since researchers are still struggling to understand synthetic collagen, finding alternative sources is a great way to increase collagen-related medical options for people who may need it.