Extensive research has demonstrated that wound fluid is rich in growth factors. Growth factors are naturally occurring proteins found primarily in platelets and macrophages. They are needed for normal wound healing to promote growth and migration of fibroblasts, endothelial cells and keratinocytes. The functions of growth factors include; attraction of cells to the wound site (chemotaxis), stimulation of cell division/ proliferation (mitogenic competence/progressive), differentiation of cells into specific phenotypes (transformation), and stimulation of cells to perform functions or secrete other growth factors. Growth factors bind to receptors on the cell surface where they activate cellular proliferation and/or differentiation. There are a number of growth factors which are involved in wound healing at different points in time. Many are quite versatile and capable of stimulating cellular division in different cell types; others are specific to a particular cell type.
Below is a list of the growth factors involved in wound healing:
- Epidermal growth factor
- Transforming growth factor-α
- Hepatocyte growth factor
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
- Platelet derived growth factor
- Fibroblast growth factor 1 and 2
- Transforming growth factor-β
- Keratinocyte growth factor
(The origins, effects and companies pursuing development of these growth factors are described in link.)
Since the market for growth factors in wound management is very new, there are as yet only a few players, but with compound growth in this market pushing well over 20% annually, the lucrative market will stimulate a burst of new entrants over the next few years. Currently, Smith & Nephew holds a dominant position due to its acquisition of Healthpoint Biotherapeutics (pre-acquisition market shares shown separately, below).
Additional companies include Citagenix, Cytomedix, Daewoong Pharmaceutical, Macrocure and others.
Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S249.