This is a story of an atypical pharmaceutical company
Vitro-Bio was established in 1994, in Issoire, France, by Dr Ravi Shrivastava.
While working in multinational pharmaceutical companies (1978-1994), Dr Shrivastava observed that there were no effective treatments for many common topical diseases such as:
- Throat infections
- Cough and cold
- Labial and genital herpes
- Gynecological infections
- Chronic wounds (bedsores, venous leg ulcers, diabetic ulcers)
- Psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis
- Allergic rhinitis
All these diseases have some key features in common:
- They are present on the body surface (topical).
- They are often contaminated.
- They all involve cellular damage.
- They contain multiple “good” (essential for healing) & “bad (enhancing
- infection or retarding healing) proteins, with the concentration of bad proteins gradually exceeding that of good proteins as the chronicity of the pathology progresses.
“Bad” proteins play an important role in all these diseases. For example:
- Virus glycoproteins such as H1N1 in Influenza help virus attachment & entry into the cells,
- Pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, interleukins, and histamines cause inflammation & cellular damage,
- Growth factors leading to excessive & uncontrolled cell growth in psoriasis, eczema & dermatitis,
- Matrix MetalloProteinases: MMPs, in chronic wounds, that destroy ECM (Extra Cellular Matrix essential for cell attachment & growth) and stop the healing process. The concentration of some ECM-destroying MMPs in bedsores, diabetic & venous leg ulcers is 20-50 times higher than normal levels.
They cause cellular damage, skin or mucosal lesions, and minimize normal cellular defense functions, creating an environment highly favorable to microbial growth. Once lesions become chronic, local concentrations of “bad” proteins increase manifold, clinical manifestations of the disease appear, and the pathology becomes very difficult to treat.
An ideal treatment should not only eliminate the cause of the disease, clean the surface of all the contaminants and “bad” proteins, and accelerate cellular repair, but it should also be safe, non-irritant, hydrating and fast acting.
Infection can only heal when the cells are healthy and cellular integrity & functions are restored.
Cells are like babies: they need support for attachment (like the ground for babies to stand or lie on), water for hydration, food for energy, oxygen to stay alive (as babies need air to breathe), total absence of chemicals, infection, and contact with “bad” proteins. If any of these conditions are not met, the cells cannot grow, cannot defend themselves, cannot heal the injury, and cannot stop the infection. Therefore, the 1st step towards healing should be to restore the ideal conditions for cellular repair & growth.
VITROBIO Research & Development program (1994-2010)
In 1994, we observed that neither is there any treatment available nor any research project directed to find such a multi-approach drug. Therefore, Vitro-Bio established a 15-year R&D program to explore the possibilities of conceiving a treatment for each topical pathology, having two key properties:
- Instantly acting, safe, non-irritant, cell friendly, non-occlusive, hydrating, surface cleaning and antiseptic, &
- Multiple specific protease-inhibiting.
Among existing treatments, only cleaning the injuries with saline solution or salt water containing <3.4% NaCl fulfilled, partially, these basic requirements. Such solutions act through their osmotic activity, which helps minimize the concentration of contaminants on the infected surface. Unfortunately, their efficacy and use are limited as their osmotic power is low, whereas increasing salt concentration above 3.4% causes strong irritation & inflammation; and their mode of application is not practical. Even with such inconveniences, saline water for wound cleaning or salt water gargling for throat infections still remain the most effective treatments of choice.
The aim of Vitrobio R&D was to find a new, more osmotic, long-acting salt-like solution capable of exerting such a strong osmotic flow that it may remove most of the free surface contaminants within a short period of time. Of course, such a solution had to be totally safe, non-irritant and cell-friendly.
Between 1994 and 2005, Vitrobio discovered & patented VB-Gy, a glycerol-based hypertonic, 18 times more osmotically active than sea water, cell-friendly, safe & non-irritant solution, fulfilling the desired basic surface cleaning properties.
But… it had two drawbacks: 1. being highly osmotic, VB-Gy gets diluted relatively rapidly. 2. It was devoid of anti-protease activity.
VB-Gy was rendered filmogen by adding inert natural or synthetic polymers for a long-lasting activity while conserving its exceptional osmotic activity (new 2013 worldwide PCT patent).
Application of Filmogen VB-Gy forms a hypertonic film and cleans the injured surface of all contaminants, provides long-lasting hydration, and acts as a mechanical antiseptic, without irritation, side effects or interactions with the underlying cellular structures.
However, although this new filmogen VB-Gy had come as close to the ideal treatment as possible, it still lacked anti-protein properties.
Employing in vitro technology, Vitro-Bio identified the “good” & “bad” proteins involved in each pathological condition.
A simple observation that specific plant extracts, rich in tannins (polymers) are used to “tan” the skin indicates that specific polymers have a strong affinity for skin proteins and this binding is so strong that we can convert skin into leather but not leather back into skin. This ancestral technology led to the hypothesis that once identified, the “bad” proteins can thus be blocked with specific polymers.
Polymers are very big, branched & totally inert molecules capable of binding with macromolecules and specific proteins, simultaneously. Multiple experiments were therefore conducted to find specific anti-protease polymers.
Specific protein-binding polymers were then incorporated into filmogen VB-Gy so as to conceive a new generation of topical, cell-friendly, safe, non-irritant, osmotically active, cleaning filmogen bandages capable of neutralizing defined target proteins.
Being topical and filmogen, these products were registered as Medical Devices in Europe.
VITROBIO TOPICAL TREATMENTS
The following Filmogen Liquid Bandages have been conceived and developed, and, due to their lack of pharmacological, immunological or metabolic interaction with the cellular structures, have been registered as Medical Devices (France, Europe, non-EU countries):
• Throat Sprays for Sore Throat Infections, in adults and children
• Cough – dry or wet
• Rhinosinusitis, Rhinitis and Nasal Congestion (of viral and/or bacterial origin)
• Allergic Rhinitis
• Labial Herpes
• Genital Herpes, Bacterial Vaginosis and Vaginal Infections
• Vaginal Dryness
• Psoriasis, Eczema and Dermatitis
• External & internal hemorrhoids
• Chronic Wounds (bedsores, venous and diabetic leg ulcers)
• Cancer Therapy-induced Oral Mucositis
• Traumatic Oral Injuries and Aphthous Ulcers