”After years of research we suddenly realised how to combine our findings. It was a eureka moment.”

Introducing Amferia wound dressing for animal care — binds and kills bacteria without harming the body

How antimicrobial hydrogel can revolutionize clinical treatments

Binds and kills 99.99% of bacteria without harming the body – even resistant bacteria

Binds and kills 99.99% of bacteria without harming the body – even resistant bacteria

How it works:

For decades, we’ve known that antimicrobial peptides are potent killers of bacteria. Peptides carry a positive electrostatic charge, which naturally attracts the negative charge bacteria carry. Once attached, the knife-like structure of peptides puncture bacterial membranes, killing the cells.  

What hasn’t been known—until now—is how to protect vulnerable parts of the peptide from natural enzymes in the human body. In nature, peptides are fragile molecules. Enzymes can destroy them in seconds. To be effective bacteria killers, peptides need protection.  

To be effective bacteria killers, peptides need protection.  

Amferia solves that problem with an innovative, patented hydrogel platform that encases peptides in a solid gel, leaving only the knife-like structure free to attract and puncture bacterial cells.

Because peptides kill bacteria in a physical—as opposed to chemical—process, Amferia products kill even bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotic drugs.

Amferia’s hydrogel stabilizes and protects the peptides for up to five days in biological environments, keeping them actively killing bacteria that entire time. Amferia harnesses peptides in a safe, stable, non-toxic and clinically applicable form, allowing them to kill bacteria without harming anything else in the body.

Amferia’s proprietary antimicrobial technology consists of bioinspired and amphiphilic antibacterial polymers that target, rapidly bind and kill upto 99.99% of the bacteria upon contact, including numerous strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria like MRSA and MDR E. Coli

The material is selective and targets only bacteria while being entirely non-toxic to human and animal body. 

Now, Amferia has developed this platform into its first in-market product —wound dressing for animal care. Ultimately, the goal is to bring this technology and products into the market as new and effective products to treat patients at risk of acquiring dangerous skin and wound infections. 

Amferia’s approach to killing bacteria

  • 1. Binds and kills bacterial loads in seconds—including antibiotic resistant bacteria
  • 2. Highly potent and targets only bacteria
  • 3. Completely harmless to human and animal cells
  • 4. Does not release any antimicrobials into the wound environment

Using antimicrobial peptides in new ways mimicking the immune system

The science:

Antimicrobial peptides are powerful molecules based on the mammalian innate immune system that can rapidly and selectively kill bacteria including antibiotic resistant bacteria and prevent bacterial infections.

Until today, antimicrobial peptides have had poor stability

These peptides have been present in all mammals for millions of years and have an un-specific way of killing bacteria - by rapidly disrupting the bacteria’s cell membrane through something called electrostatic and amphiphilic interaction. In a way, this can be considered as a highly specialised soap-like molecule designed to kill bacteria by ripping off its skin. 

Antimicrobial peptides carry a net-positive charge, as well as a molecular structure that include hydrophobic and hydrophilic characteristics. These two factors allow peptides to attract bacterial cells—which carry a net-negative charge and are also amphiphilic—and bind to them, before puncturing their membrane and killing the cell. The opposite charge and amphiphilic structure attracts bacteria to the peptides and enables rapid disruption.

Because peptides destroy bacteria cells in a physical process, bacteria have very low probability of evolving resistance to peptides that they have been able to develop against antibiotics, which work chemically. 

Until today, antimicrobial peptides have had poor stability. In the past, antimicrobial peptides have been poor choices for clinical applications because of their fragility. High doses of antimicrobial peptides were needed for clinical applications, which increased costs and, since at those doses peptides were seen as pharma products, prolonged the time-to-market.

As a result, developing market-ready products featuring this valuable antimicrobial technology has faced insurmountable hurdles.

Amferia solves this problem by implementing a scientifically robust approach that covalently (or permanently) bind antimicrobial peptides to the surface of a soft, ordered and amphiphilic hydrogel pad.

These permanent bonds protect the vulnerable portion of the peptide molecule and fix them in place, while leaving their bacteria-killing mechanism free to attract and destroy bacterial cells.  Antimicrobial peptides fixed to an underlying hydrogel pad allowed Amferia to develop an efficient and cost-effective design for an antimicrobial wound dressing.  

Amferia solves this problem by permanently binding the peptides to an amphiphilic hydrogel

This design provides the needed balance between stability and activity.

The end-product is a singular material that does not leach or release any peptides or substances into the body, but rather acts locally as a contact-killing medical device—which will enable faster clinical translation.

Current antimicrobial peptide technologies utilize the peptide in its pristine form that renders them inactive in a few minutes. Amferia’s innovation enables the bound peptides to be stable and active for up to five days. The product we’re developing for wound care will be shelf-stable for up to a currently tested period of eighteen months, and potentially up to two years.

Read about our first product using the technology >

Years of research yield a breakthrough innovation

Technology:

Amferia’s technology is born out of years of research performed at Chalmers University of Technology. The concept behind Amferia’s antibacterial properties are enabled by a new material known as amphiphilic antimicrobial hydrogel.

An amphiphilic substance is one that displays both hydrophilic and hydrophobic characteristics. Comprised of more than 70% water, the hydrogel is soft and flexible, making it useful for numerous medical applications.

Amferia’s technology is based on a new material known as amphiphilic antimicrobial hydrogels

The surface of amphiphilic hydrogel consists of antimicrobial peptides that are permanently (or covalently) bound to the hydrogels amphiphilic structure - forming a single material. The material interact with the bacteria and when in contact, disrupts the bacterial cell wall rapidly, effectively killing the bacteria.

The amphiphilic antimicrobial hydrogel has proven to not release any substances into the environment. This singular material can be configured into antimicrobial products ranging from wound care dressings to antiseptic sprays to mechanically durable devices such as catheters and implants.  

To date, analysis confirms that Amferia amphiphilic antimicrobial hydrogel has upto 99.99% kill rate against multiple gram-negative and gram-positive bacterial strains, including MRSA, MDR E. Coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

It has also been proven to be non-toxic to the body as per ISO 10993 biocompatibility evaluations, namely acute toxicity, cytotoxicity, skin sensitisation & irritation, implantation and material mediated pyrogenicity. 

Amferia's first product for human wound care and animal wound care has been developed with easy applicability and functionality, as proven in numerous pre-clinical and clinical studies. More products and broader applications are in the pipeline.

Read about possible applications of Amferia's innovation >

Amferia’s technology verified in scientific papers

Scientific evidence:

Amferia’s technology platform has been verified in numerous pre-clinical studies for both its antimicrobial efficacy and its safety in lab and animal studies. These studies have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

The studies describe evidence of Amferia’s technology through fluorescence microscopy against multiple strains of bacteria, including resistant bacteria. An animal infection study demonstrates the realtime effectiveness of Amferia hydrogel in eradicating bacteria from a wound. 

In 2022, Amferia’s technology platform was verified in a new form for potential spray based applications. The base technology was reformulated as a small particles that can be sprayed for applications in deep wounds. The results demonstrated excellent reduction of the broad bacterial bio burden including resistant bacteria upto 4 log reduction (or 99.99%) bacterial colonies. This study and others are now published in peer-reviewed scientific journals as listed below. 

Pre-clinical studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals

First human study

Clinical studies:

Amferia dressing was applied on intact skin of lower arm of 40 healthy volunteers. The study was a randomised, double blinded, placebo controlled study for evaluating the efficacy of Amferia dressing on eradicating bacteria from a clinically relevant surface.

The human skin is a source of bacteria for certain wound infections, for example in surgery wounds. The reduction of bacteria on skin after 3 hours of dressing application was studied. An average bacterial reduction by 1000 times (i.e. 99.9%) and in some cases where bacterial load was high, almost 99.99% reduction was seen (as below), after application of Amferia wound dressing. 

The image below shows swab cultures from one sample and demonstrates the the antimicrobial efficacy of Amferia Hydrogel Wound Dressing, on human skin. The study and statistical analysis is now completed and under preparation to be published in a scientific journal.

Amferia presents at Brilliant Minds conference 2019, Stockholm

June 15, 2019

Amferia was honoured to pitch as one of the ‘Next Brilliant in Tech‘ at Brilliant Minds 2019 held at Stockholm between 13-15 June. With esteemed guests like President Barack Obama, Secretary John Kerry, Greta Thunberg, the conference was an enlightening and inspiring event with much hope for the future.

The Recent UN Report on Antibiotic Resistance

May 3, 2019

The United Nations appointed Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (IACG) has presented its report on Recommendations to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). It is clear from the report that AMR is a global and complex threat that needs to be addressed with extreme urgency and with care. Consistent, coordinated and conscious actions are demanded, especially from the World Goverments, Academia, Public, Healthcare-Industry and  Agriculture. A world where bacterial infections cannot be fought efficiently is a world of perils.

Here is an excerpt from the IACG report.

“The challenges of antimicrobial resistance are complex and multifaceted, but they are not insurmountable. Implementation of the recommendations in this report will help to save millions of lives, preserve antimicrobials for generations to come and secure the future from drug-resistant diseases.

But there is no time to wait.”

-IACG Report, April 29, 2019

Do take a minute and read the summary of this important report (English, pdf 653 kb)

Amferia featured in Göteborgs-Posten

February 8, 2019

New patch from Gothenburg kills bacteria in wounds. Read to know more

Amferia wins the Swedbank Rivstart 2018

February 7, 2019

Amferia is proud to become the winners of the annual entrepreneur competition hosted by Swedbank, Rivstart. From over 1825 applications, Amferia finished on top!

Amferia wins the Venture Day 2018, hosted by Chalmers Ventures

November 28, 2018

Amferia is proud to be named winners of the annual Pitch competition hosted by Chalmers Ventures.