The BioBandage: next generation venom gel to control bleeding

Researchers on the AIBN BioBandage team are developing a hydrogel that harnesses replicated proteins from deadly snakes to stop uncontrolled bleeding from severe wounds. 

The BioBandage is currently in pre-clinical testing and within years could be sold in pharmacies, added to first aid kits, and used by paramedics or military personnel in combat zones, to stop bleeding while a patient is taken to hospital. 

The BioBandage team is also overseeing work on a simple, ready-to-use device that can apply the hydrogel to wounds so severe bleeding can be halted within a couple of minutes.

Discovery and delivery - critical Queensland Biotherapeautics pipeline phases 

Led by Postdoctoral Research Fellow Amanda Kijas, the AIBN biomaterials research team found protein in the venom of two snakes – Australia’s eastern brown and scaled viper – could be used as an accelerant in the body’s natural blood-clotting process. 

To take this concept forward, the team engaged facilities hosted at AIBN who offer specific scientific and technical assistance. This includes the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility at the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis (CMM), as well as the Protein Expression Facility (PEF), who assisted in the production of recombinant protein, ecarin and Sortase A pentamutant. 

This work was performed in part at the Queensland node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF-Q), a company established under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) to provide nano and microfabrication facilities for Australian researchers. 

Partnering with industry for an investment ready product 

The BioBandage project has been enabled by $2.5 million in funding from the United States Department of Defense. with blood donated from the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood. Metro North Health at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and Herston Biofabrication have also been crucial to exploring the potential applications for burns and trauma injuries. 

Progress on the BioBandage applicator device follows a $500,000 grant from CUREator, a national biotechnology incubator delivered by Brandon BioCatalyst. 

This funding allowed the BioBandage team to engage contractor Planet Innovation to bring the concept, function, and manufacturing plan to life so that we might soon have a simple, ready-to-use product that can stop severe bleeding within a couple of minutes.

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