Trefoil is building on the extensive research on FGF-1 proteins conducted at Florida State University (FSU) to develop engineered FGF-1 (eFGF-1) proteins to treat serious corneal endothelial diseases and epithelial disorders. The technology underlying Trefoil’s platform was developed by co-founder Michael Blaber, Ph.D., and is licensed from the FSU College of Medicine.

Proteins as therapeutics present unique challenges, like low thermodynamic stability. Earlier generations of engineered forms of FGF-1 added heparin for stability, with a number of undesirable changes to FGF-1 pharmacokinetics.


Trefoil’s latest generation eFGF-1 platform improves upon naturally occurring FGF-1 in the following ways that are advantageous for therapeutic application:

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  • Well understood pharmacology with proven regenerative activity

  • Activates all seven isoforms of FGF receptor

  • Multiple effects

    • Proliferation

    • Migration

    • Protection

  • Engineered via limited and specific amino acid substitutions

  • Increased stability in biological systems

Trefoil's eFGF-1 also has strong IP protection.  ​The broad family of patents covering eFGF-1s was also bolstered recently by the issuance of US patent 8,962,557, which describes additional fibroblast growth factor mutants with improved functional half-life and use methods. Further, in 2014, several other patents have been filed covering new aspects of eFGF-1 technology and strengthening the intellectual property protection for these novel therapeutics.