Christopher Reeve, known for his role as “Superman”, died from an infected pressure ulcer he suffered as the result of a spinal cord injury. Patients vulnerable to pressure ulcers include the elderly, stroke victims, patients with diabetes, dementia, those in wheelchairs, bedridden or suffering from impaired mobility or sensation. According to a national pressure ulcer advisory panel report, the prevalence of pressure ulcers in a critical care setting is 22%.
Expenditures for treating pressure ulcers in the U.S. have been estimated at $11 billion. The NIH estimates that as of 2009 there were over 7.4 million pressure ulcers in the world where estimates exist. In the U.S alone, over 2.5 million pressure ulcers are treated in acute care facilities. In a statistical brief, the AHRQ reported that in 2006 there were 545,600 hospital admissions where pressure ulcers were either the primary or secondary diagnosis.
Severe pressure ulcers represent approximately 25% of the number of total ulcers and the price of managing a single full thickness pressure ulcer is estimated at $70,000. Additionally, pressure ulcers can be a major source of infection and lead to complications such as septicemia, osteomyelitis and even death. Developing a pressure ulcer increases a patient’s mortality rate - each year, approximately 60,000 patients die as a direct result of pressure ulcers.
While Aegle will initially focus on pressure ulcers in patients with spinal cord injuries, immobility issues and post surgical wounds, the Company believes its extracellular vesicle therapy will be effective in treating aged and diseased cells and expand its market to include diabetic foot ulcers and venous leg ulcers. Chronic wounds represent a major health care burden in the U.S. with an estimated $25 billion spent each year on treatment alone. In spite of the amount spent to heal these wounds, approximately half of chronic wounds do not respond to existing treatments. According to the National Institutes of Health, the burden of treating chronic wounds is growing rapidly due to increasing health care costs, the aging population and a sharp rise in the incidence of diabetes and obesity worldwide.