A UNIVERSITY of Glasgow spin-out that is developing a new treatment for tendon problems in humans and horses has secured £1 million of investment.

The funding has been put up by biotech merchant bank and investment firm Mediqventure and the Scottish Investment Bank, part of Scottish Enterprise.

Causeway Therapeutics develops therapies for tendon injuries and disorders, collectively known as tendinopathies. The company noted tendinopathies were extremely common, accounting for between 30 and 50 per cent of all sporting injuries.

It added that around one in ten people would be affected by tendinopathies in their lifetime, usually caused by repetitive strain or major trauma.

Causeway co-founders Derek Gilchrist and Neal Millar discovered a single microRNA (ribonucleic acid) - miR29a - played a key role in regulating the production of collagens, the proteins that give tendons their strength. They made this discovery while working in the laboratory of Professor Iain McInnes at the university’s Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation.

Causeway’s lead product, TenoMiR, is a replacement for the natural miR29a that is depleted in tendinopathy.

Mr Millar said: “We have applied high-level molecular interrogation to an under-investigated yet highly prevalent and burdensome disease process. TenoMiR has the potential to transform the treatment of tendon injuries, getting patients back to normal quicker.”

While developing TenoMiR as a human therapeutic, Causeway is working on an analogous therapy for horses. It is estimated tendinopathy affects 10 to 30 per cent of working and competitive horses.