In 2020, Cure EB invested in FIBRX Derm Inc., a company developing a topical gel formulation of decorin (a natural protein found in humans) to slow and reverse the process of fibrosis, or scarring, in Dystrophic EB (DEB).
FIBRX Derm Inc. is now part of Phoenicis Therapeutics. In addition to funding from Cure EB, Phoenicis Therapeutics have investment from EB Research Partnership, EB Medical Research Foundation and DEBRA UK in the FIBRX Derm programme.
The idea behind this research came from a study of identical twins with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis (RDEB); although both twins had the same genetic mutation in their Collagen VII genes, one twin presented with widespread wounds and scars while the other did not. The researchers found that the twin with less scarring was expressing nearly twice as much decorin as the other.
Decorin, a naturally occurring human protein, has a well-elucidated mechanism of action, and has the potential to improve the quality of life for patients by accelerating wound healing and decreasing the scarring associated with chronic cycles of skin blistering and wound healing.
This research is investigating the potential of an engineered form of decorin, as an anti-scarring agent in gel form for local wound application. Decorin helps to provide maintenance and development of the extracellular matrix in the skin which provides support and various functions including the communication between cells.