Equinext LLC, a new biotech spinoff company, and Lexington-based Hagyard Equine Medical Institute have formed a partnership to bring a medical device to the equine market to treat tendon and ligament injuries and Wobbler's Syndrome in horses and other animals.
Equinext will use its chemically made injectable reagent device on these lower leg strains and sprains, which are very common in all types of performance horses and have a high rate of reoccurrence. Clinical trials are expected to begin in the next year.
Orthopeutics-Intralink Spine Inc., the parent company to Equinext, relocated from Texas to the University of Kentucky Coldstream Research Campus last year along with Chief Scientific Officer Tom Hedman and Chief Executive Officer Eric Hauck.
The Equinext technology, called NEXT™ or Nonsurgical EXogenous crosslink Therapy, provides almost immediate benefits to the horse. It is injected directly into the lesion of the injured tendon or ligament and interacts with the native proteins (collagen) causing the tissue to strengthen and mechanically stabilize so the natural healing process begins. The therapeutic effect is reached within 30 to 60 minutes of application and dramatically reduces recovery time for the horse; some tendon and ligament injuries can take up to a year or more to heal.
NEXT was developed from the research of Hedman, an MIT-trained and NIH-funded professor. Hedman, formerly at Texas A&M University, joined the University of Kentucky faculty with a joint appointment in neurosurgery and biomedical engineering.
Hedman and veterinarians Kim Sprayberry and Duncan Peters of the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute will conduct the Equinext clinical trials. They expect to complete the trials by the third quarter of 2013.
Equine injuries to the tendons and ligaments can affect up to 30 percent of competitive horses with higher rates of occurrence in working horses (horses used for driving, guiding, packing, search and rescue, and police work). NEXT also will be used to treat Wobbler's Syndrome, which causes significant horse loss for the racing industry.