Noxsano technology mimics body’s natural chemistry to repair open wounds
As humans, of course, things happen to us: we age, we get sick, we become injured. With the progress of technology, our ability to offer solutions that might alleviate pain and provide cures has increased, and more and more companies have taken notice. In the past year, venture capitalist firms have invested more than $2.8 billion in medtech devices with promising futures. One up-and-coming company in Columbus, Noxsano, hopes that their wound healing device will be part of the trend and change the lives of thousands of patients.
“We’re a biomedical device company working to solve the problem of chronic wounds, which means wounds that won’t heal,” said Alan Willey, CEO and co-founder. “These wounds are very common among people with diabetes, the elderly and people with disabilities. They remain open wounds for weeks, months — even years, and risk for infection is very high.”
For most people, a wound heals in phases, the first of which is the inflammatory stage, where the body reacts to the damage by trying to get rid of any pathogenic bacteria. During this phase, the body releases nitric oxide to coordinate the generation of new tissue. In chronic wounds, however, the same healing process doesn’t happen because of dysfunctional levels of nitric oxide present at the site.
“We developed a method to generate nitric oxide on demand and control that level throughout the healing process,” said Willey. “The device looks like a normal band-aid with a battery on it. Within that dressing is a gel containing a solution, which we can convert to nitric oxide gas in real time — just like the body’s natural chemistry. Then, the body can respond to the chemical and heal the wound.”
Chronic wounds present a handful of problems for patients and the medical community alike. Patients are sometimes denied more advanced wound care because a doctor has to wait 4 weeks to prove the wound is non-healing, leaving patients at risk for infection. In addition, hospitals themselves often face mounting costs of care because of extended hospital stays and costly procedures like skin grafts and amputations.
“The cost of biomedical care to the U.S. healthcare system is around $10–50 billion a year just for chronic wounds, and its human impact is massive,” said Willey. “You have the cost of the wound itself, and you also have the effect of the wound if it’s not treated, where patients end up hospitalized or with amputations. We hope to make treating chronic wounds more accessible. Right now, the process is: open wound, infection, amputation, rehabilitation. We want to change that whole track.”
As the brainchild of former P&G associates, Willey and his team turned to Rev 1 Ventures, a partner of the Ohio Third Frontier in Columbus for additional mentorship and opportunities. From Willey’s garage in Cincinnati, Noxsano’s Ohio roots remain important to its founding members.
“When this company started, we began to look around for facilities, people who could help us develop as a startup and recognize our own limitations,” said Willey. “As we’ve progressed, we know we could consider moving across the country, but we’re not. There are always people in Ohio looking for good companies to invest in, and I think the incubators and accelerators here are top notch. We see Noxsano growing up in southwest Ohio and the Columbus area.”