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About 1,800 U.S. troops, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, are now suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) caused by penetrating wounds. But neurologists worry that hundreds of thousands more -- at least 30 percent of the troops who've engaged in active combat for four months or longer in Iraq and Afghanistan -- are at risk of potentially disabling neurological disorders from the blast waves of IEDs and mortars, all without suffering a scratch.
For the first time, the U.S. military is treating more head injuries than chest or abdominal wounds, and it is ill-equipped to do so. According to a July 2005 estimate from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, two-thirds of all soldiers wounded in Iraq who don't immediately return to duty have traumatic brain injuries.
TissueGene vet launches biotech, nabs license deals
RemeGenix hopes to prosper where its predecessors haven't. Its first drug candidate is a small-molecule compound that treats traumatic brain injury, whose complexity has foiled most biotechs' past attempts at drug trials.
But with its wide reach -- afflicting 1.4 million Americans annually, from professional athletes to car crash victims to military soldiers -- the U.S. traumatic brain injury (TBI) market poses an annual $500 million potential. A Department of Defense supplemental appropriations bill, passed by the Senate last week and awaiting final action, included $83 million for TBI treatments and $100 million for TBI research.