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Biocompatible matrix for tissue engineering and wound dressing

Reference Number TO 15-00007


Tissue engineering is an emerging multidisciplinary field driven by the need to replace severely diseased, mechanically damaged or lost tissues or organs in cases where allogeneic or autologous transplantation is not an option due to the limited availability of donor organs or the amount of material needed (e.g. skin grafts).

The choice of the right matrix material for tissue engineering is a great challenge, since it must be of sufficient mechanical strength on the one hand; on the other hand it should be biodegradable, as the newly generated tissue will ideally become strong enough to support itself without the matrix. Up to date, no material fulfilling both criteria is in clinical use.

Nephila Claviceps.
Nephila Claviceps.


Spider silk from Nephila is a biocompatible material very well suited to serve as a scaffold for tissue engineering due to both its mechanical strength and biodegradability. Animal experiments demonstrated that spider silk does not cause immunological reactions, and that it promotes cell adhesion and proliferation acting as a guiding structure. The spider silk fibres can be cross-linked by organic compounds and can subsequently be moulded into the desired shape of the tissue or organ to be replaced. The material can be used for various applications (including the production of 3-dimensional autologous cell implants, dermis implants,  vessel and cartilage implants and bone implants) and has demonstrated excellent properties when used as a wound dressing for seroserous or serosanguineous wounds.

Commercial Opportunity

In-licensing or collaboration for further development is possible.

Developmental Status

Spider silk has shown excellent properties as a biological scaffold for tissue engineering in both in vitro and animal experiments.

Patent Situation

European patent EP2097117 and US patent US8,696,762 with priority of 2006 have been granted.