In honor of Veterans Day, we are highlighting the different ways Kerecis is working to improve the lives of veterans and active duty personnel. The Icelandic company Kerecis has been working with the U.S. military to improve the state of the art of combat wound care and accelerate the transition of basic research to operations.
In 2014, the U.S. Embassy hosted an Embassy Science Fellow (ESF) to assist with Arctic Affairs in order to build greater cooperation between the United States and Iceland. Only a few months later in early 2015, Kerecis received funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to conduct basic and applied research via a grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Global. The DoD/Kerecis connection was one of the most enduring and successful outcomes of the ESF program in Iceland. Iceland is currently the Chair of the Arctic Council, which is the senior diplomatic forum for the Arctic region, and Icelanders have a culture of developing innovative solutions to common problems and the ESF program. As the old saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention” and this has been a way of life in Iceland for over one thousand years. Throughout their long history, Icelanders have found sustainable and innovative techniques of adapting to their environment.
The first two grants from ONR Global (On page 21 of FY16 Annual Report) studied the bacterial barrier and hemostatic properties of the Kerecis fish skin wound product. The success of these research efforts led to more advanced DoD research efforts of 3rd degree burns with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) with pre-clinical studies at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (ISR) in San Antonio, TX. The grant initiated with ISR is in the final phase of study with a small feasibility study as a clinical trial on humans at the MedStar Health Research Institute in Washington D.C. and will be concluded in 2020.
In 2018, Kerecis hired CDR (ret) Blake McBride, U.S. Navy who retired in 2018 after over 26 years of service. He currently serves as the Director of Customer Operations and Government Programs for Kerecis and serves as the lead for all collaboration with the DoD. His efforts maintain the momentum of existing efforts and ensure that Kerecis research efforts funded by the DoD transition from basic and applied research to operations in the field.
While Kerecis is actively developing methods to improve medical care in combat and austere environments with the U.S. military, these solutions are not limited to military use. “We are a small but rapidly growing company that is leveraging the innovative spirit of Icelanders to rapidly develop solutions to solve modern day challenges for the U.S. Military and to improve the state of the art of wound care,” said Kerecis Founder and CEO Fertram Sigurjonsson.
The Arctic region has, without a doubt, one of the most demanding environments that the Warfighter confronts. Kerecis is working with the U.S. military to develop new solutions to support medical providers in the treatment of trauma and other injuries when rapid extraction to a treatment facility such as a hospital is not available. The goal is to find new and improved ways to save lives with limited resources in austere conditions.
Kerecis’ technology is FDA cleared and is currently being used in hospital operating rooms and wound care centers in the U.S. and around the world.