Updated: September 21, 2021 2:58:36 pm
A Pune-based company that aims to revolutionise bone repair and soft tissue regeneration by using natural silk proteins is in the running for a $100,000 prize money event in Dubai.
Serigen Mediproducts, founded in 2015 by Dr Anuya Nisal with fellow scientists Swati Shukla, Premnath Venugopalan and Ashish Lele, won the Pune round of the TiE Women’s Global Pitch Competition, trumping 58 other companies. In October, it will compete with more than 1000 other women-run companies from 26 countries for the global title in Dubai.
“TiE Pune had three rounds of pitching. During each round, there was a good set of questions and a lot of mentoring which helped to sharpen our pitch. I am looking forward to the Dubai event because it will give us global visibility and an opportunity to network with some of the best minds globally. It will support our fundraiser, planned for 2022,” says Dr Nisal, who has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from IIT, Bombay and a post-graduation degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Delaware in the US.
Serigen’s products are Serioss, which is used in bone repair, Serimat, for soft tissue regeneration, and Seriderm, which causes painless healing of exuding wounds.
The company has also begun recruiting patients for clinical trials in two leading hospitals in Pune after getting the government nod.
“Silk proteins are protein polymers that are secreted by a variety of species such as spiders, moths, butterflies. At Serigen, we extract silk proteins from the cocoons of silkworm Bombyx mori, which is better known as the mulberry silkworm. Silk proteins have proven biocompatibility and exceptional thermo-mechanical stability,” says Dr Nisal.
Tissue regeneration is a $25-billion global market that is growing at an annual growth rate of 15 per cent, while the global bone-filling market is $3 billion.
“In India, a single orthopaedic surgeon would be performing 100 bone filling surgeries every year on an average, which means approx 12-15 lakh bone filling surgeries take place in India annually,” says Dr Nisal.
Silk is mostly used is in textiles but silk threads or sutures are also common in the stitching of wounds.
“We wanted to look at developing more value-added applications of this ancient textile material. We went ahead and developed protocols by which we can process silk into different forms and shapes. We found that this material, which has biomedical potential, can solve many challenging problems in the healthcare sector,” says Dr Nisal.
However, it was a long route to the market as biomedical products had to navigate regulatory pathways in different countries. “Because it is a novel concept to use silk in the bone body, regulations are the biggest challenge. A lot of funding is required to take us through this long process,” she adds.
The company has been supported by grants from organisations such as Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and technology has been licensed from National Chemical Laboratory. Serigen was incubated at Venture Center, India’s largest technology business incubator.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.