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"Nanocellulose patches to treat corneal wounds" NN group project finalist at Expoquimia 2020

The project "Nanocellulose Patches to Treat Corneal Wounds", from ICMAB researchers at the Nanoparticles and Nanocomposites (NN) Group, Irene Anton, Anna Laromaine and Anna Roig, and the Barraquer Ophthalmology Centre, became finalist in the Expoquimia Award in Biotechnology R&D&I 2020. Congrats!

27 November 2020

This year 2020, Epoquimia and Equiplast have awarded sustainable and health-oriented projects. Within the framework of the Unprecedented Virtual Forum, a digital debate forum organized by Expoquimia, Eurosurfas and Equiplast events (Fira de Barcelona).

The names of the winning projects of the Expoquimia and Equiplast Awards were announced coinciding with the Chemistry Day, on 15 November 2020. The projects were selected in recognition of their contribution to research, development and innovation, as well as their commitment to sustainability in an environment of clear commitment to advances in the field of healthcare.

Expoquimia: Biotechnology and Basic Research Awards

More than 30 candidatures have been presented to the awards announced by Expoquimia for its two categories: Biotechnology R&D&I and Basic Research.

Thus, the jury presided over by the president emeritus of the show, Rafael Foguet, awarded the Expoquimia prize in Biotechnology R&D&I to the work "Biodegradable bacterial cellulose of biological origin" by the group of researchers from the Biotechnology Department of the Footwear Technology Centre of La Rioja (CTCR).

Two projects became finalists in this category: "Nanocellulose Patches to Treat Corneal Wounds", from the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) and the Barraquer Ophthalmology Centre, and "Surface modifications of PLA waste and its reuse in new composite materials" from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC).

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Irene Anton, Anna Laromaine and Anna Roig (NN Group, ICMAB), with Justin D'Antin and Ralph Michael (Baraquer Ophtalmology Centre).

The jury especially valued the innovation, efficiency and market implementation of the different proposals in order to determine the winner and the finalist projects.

The R+D+i Award for Basic Research was given to the project "Bacteriophobic coatings to prevent bacterial colonization in medical devices" by Tractivus. The two finalists were "Co-crystals fish out cannabinoid from plant extract" by Enantia, S.L and "Artificial leaf - from a scientific dream to a lab reality" by Eurecat.

The president of the CSIC, Rosa María Méndez, the director of the Institut Català d'Investigació Química (ICIQ) Emilio Palomares, the general director of the Asociación Española de Bioempresas (Asebio) Ion Arocena, and Raquel Alonso, representing the Ministry of Industry, were also part of the jury.

Nanocellulose Patches to Treat Corneal Wounds

The project from the ICMAB is carried out at the Nanoparticles and Nanocomposites (NN) group by PhD researcher Irene Anton, and researches Anna Laromaine and Anna Roig. The project already counts with the publication "Bacterial nanocellulose as a corneal bandage material: A comparison with amniotic membrane" and a "Llavor" (Seed) Project by the AGAUR (Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca, Generalitat de Catalunya), FEDER (Fons Europeu de Desenvolupament Regional) and Secretaria d’Universitats i Recerca del Departament d'Empresa i Coneixement de la Generalitat de Catalunya.

The aim of the project is to develop corneal patches made of nanocellulose loaded with therapeutic agents to act as protection, healing agent and bioactive substrate to accelerate corneal regeneration. The nanocellulose used, with great appealing characteristics to act as an alternative ocular bandage materials, is produced by bacteria, has a high liquid holding capacity, is biocompatible, endotoxin-free, flexible and supports the growth of human cells. The Barraquer Centre of Ophtalmology will support the project and provide critical clinical view, key materials and technical knowledge for the successful advancement of the project.

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