Interview Cheddar News

How This Plant-Based Gel Can Treat Wounds

Feb 17, 2022 11:45 am


A: Welcome back to Cheddar Innovates brought to you by Curiosity Stream. Our next guest is bringing innovation to something we’ve all used before: the Band Aid- but he’s bringing it to the next level by creating a gel that instantly stops bleeding and seals wounds from small paper cuts to even major traumatic bleeds. Joining us now is Joe Landolina: CEO and Founder of Cresilon. Joe, you’ve created a plant based gel Band Aid. How exactly does this gel work?

J: Well, thank you so much for having me Alicia, and Cresilon is a Brooklyn based biotech company that 12 years ago, based on an venture of mine when I was in undergrad, created a plant based that is derived from polymers that come out of the cell wall of Algae. And this resulting gel, if you put it onto a bleed even as significant or as strong as an arterial bleed down to soft tissue bleeding and liver, kidney or spleen, or even a small nick and scrape like a paper cut, will immediately create a mechanical barrier, stop the bleeding in seconds without the need to apply mechanical pressure and allow the body or allow the patient to create a clot underneath. So when you take the gel away, you have repaired tissue underneath.

A: It sounds just fascinating and a bit sci-fi, you know, for the average person, but we know you’re- you’re not really the average person. Science and chemistry essentially we understand runs in your family. How did you get the idea for this innovation?

J: Sure, I was incredibly lucky growing up; my grandfather was a chemist by training. He worked for a large pharmaceutical company based in New Jersey. And when he retired from that company, he started a vineyard. And as a result I grew up on a chemistry lab across the street from my house and a grandfather who’d let me work alongside him in that lab since the time that I was eight or nine years old. And my parents obviously wanted me to work with safe chemistry so I became very good at plant based chemistries. And by the time that I turned 17 I was an incoming freshman in engineering at NYU. And I was running this experiment trying to extract polymers out of the cell wall of algae and I stumbled upon the precursor of the technology we have today.

A: Wow. Fascinating. I wonder what are some of the kind of different use cases that this gel has the potential to actually treat.

J: Sure. So today our product or technology is on the market under the brand name “Vetigel” which is the animal health industry. There are three million bleeds every single year in pets in the animal health industry in the US alone. And that means that any time that there’s surgery, whether it’s a minor surgical incision or major trauma from cardiovascular bleeding down to spay and neuters who are bleeding and may not be commonplace, but it could be life threatening- and this product is able to use- to be used there. Cresilon also recently in November of last year submitted to the FDA our first human indication. So that means that likely in the next several months we’ll be able to start bringing our product and expanding our mission from saving lives in animals to saving lives in both humans and animals and that’s something that we’re incredibly excited about here.

A: Can you tell us more about the actual gel itself? What is it made of? We know it’s plant based. Um- but what are the specifics behind it and why or what about that makes it work so well?

J: Sure. So today if you want to stop bleeding the primary method is something that I like to call pressure and a prayer and this is taking gauze and using it to absorb blood and hold pressure to stop the bleeding physically.  But the issue with gauze is that once the clot forms underneath that clot gets formed inside of the pores of that gauze. So if you take the gauze away, you rip the clot off and you know that if you cut yourself shaving and you try to use something like toilet paper to stop it? If that toilet paper falls off, most likely you’re going to re bleed. So with this gel we take these plant based polymers which are biocompatible which have been used in the market before. So we understand their safety profile and we blend them together into this responsive matrix and that responsive matrix when it touches the wound or something that is bleeding, it instantly reassembles and creates this mechanical barrier.  But more importantly, it is just viscous- or just thick enough that it that it resists the flow of blood. So if you put this onto a massive arterial hemorrhage, something like even a gunshot wound, you’re able to keep this product in place without needing to hold it in place. And that allows you to drastically reduce the risk, reduce the amount of bleeding, and reduce the number of people that are required to get a bleeder under control, both in the surgical suite in the animal health market like we’re doing today and in trauma care. 

A: I’m listening in a bit of an awe, just understanding the possible implications here for- for a product like this. It certainly is so fascinating. Um- you know, Cresilon is the first bio manufacturing company you understand of its kind in New York City. Why is that so significant here?

J: So it’s incredibly important to me personally, I’m a new yorker born and raised and it was very important that if we were going to do this, we did this here in our own neighborhoods and some of the last aseptic fill and finish [unintelligible] make making products under a vaccine great environment And that left the city when Pfizer’s shut the facility down here in the late 90s, early 2000s. And that’s been a hole in New York biotech since then. So when we had the opportunity to start growing and building, it may not have been the easiest path, but we’re now able to to grow these jobs here; we have 50 engineers servicing 25,000 square feet of bio manufacturing here in New York. We partnered with Industry City in Sunset Park to be able to grow and develop within their campus. And as we continue to grow, it’s great to bring these jobs and bring this production here in the city.

A: Uh, you’ve raised to understand 650, I’m sorry, $65 million 650 million would be nice. Um, but what are your steps toward growth?

J: Sure. So we’re incredibly lucky that that through all of the progress that we’ve made, we’ve been able to attract significant investment, mainly from private, high net worth individuals and more recently, we’ve- we’ve partnered with Paulson investment Company here in New York to raise even more capital. So in fact, we’re in the process right now, closing an additional race of capital with Paulson in New York. And all of that is being used to expand the scale of our mission. So like I said, about 18 months ago we launched into the market and we’ve been seeing significant success and seeing that product be able to save lives for the very first time in pets, in- in surgery. And with this new amount of capital, we are both expanding that machine globally where Vetigel will be shortly launched around the world and shortly we’ll be able to bring this into the human space to start saving human lives as well.

A: Such an exciting product, look forward to kind of following the journey and the growth, Joe Landolina: CEO and co-founder at Cresilon.

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