Where it all started
In the late nineties, Marianne Jensen Waern was working with a project to prevent severe pneumonia in foals at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science in Uppsala. She searched the globe for experts in immunology and found Kristina Nilsson Ekdahl and Bo Nilsson in the close vicinity at Uppsala University! A very fruitful collaboration with Bo and Kristina started and since then there have been multiple successful collaborations between them.
The innate immune system is necessary for our survival and Bo and Kristina have over the last decades in-depth investigated the cross talk between the different cascade systems in the innate immune system. They have also further developed the concept that thromboinflammation is a consequence of an activation of the innate immune system in clinical disorders and treatments that give rise to adverse effects such as tissue damage, e.g., in connection with transplantation and myocardial infarction.
In 2000 Bo met Yuji Teramura at a conference, and their mutual research interest made Yuji leave Kyoto University for a guest professorship in Uppsala in 2010. Yuji had synthesized a product that could protect cells from damage caused by thromboinflammation. Now, when they wanted to proceed with whole organs, a search for a skilled transplantation surgeon with a deep interest in immunology was initiated and they found Alireza Biglarnia. He performed a proof-of concept study with TUM012 in a pig model in 2012 in which TUM012 was used as a novel ex vivo treatment to protect transplants against innate immune attacks and thereby improves the quality of grafts. A significant EU grant made it possible the group to continue the transplantation research in pigs and TUM012 was shown to protect the transplanted kidney from damage caused by lack of oxygen and blood reperfusion injury. These injuries always develop during transplantation.
The start of something new
In 2018, the group founded the company iCoat Medical together with Peder Waern with the aim to improve the outcome of kidney transplantations in patients. Since the start of the company, the organization has grown with a number of talented physicians and researchers, and now iCoat Medical is developing its commercial organization to fulfil its goal – help patients who need a transplanted organ across the world.