In 2002, Arno Sipponen MD, a specialist in orthopaedics and traumatology, began work as a general practitioner in Finnish Lapland where, together with his colleagues, he started to wonder how it was that the local people were so skilful in treating wounds with home-made resin salve. At that time, Arno’s father was Head of the Clinical Pathology Department at Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH). Together they established a multidisciplinary research group to study resin as a method of treatment for wounds.
Studies soon showed that resin salve made using modern methods without heating was antimicrobial and safe to use. Still today, these characteristics form the basis of all Repolar products. The Norway spruce resin that we use in manufacturing is always collected with reverence for nature and without harming the trees.
“When a tree suffers a wound, a branch tears or winter weather breaks its bark, the tree produces resin to allow it to heal itself. In our research, we have comprehensively studied the inbuilt defence mechanisms of conifers that protect them from bacteria, fungus and yeast. A tree must constantly protect itself, and resin is its unique means of defence,” says Arno.
Repolar was established in 2006 by the Sipponen family of doctors together with a few colleagues. The company researches, develops and markets treatment products for humans and animals based on the active ingredients of spruce resin. All products are based on comprehensive, scientific research. The Finnish Key Flag-accredited products are particularly targeted at the treatment of wounds and skin, both in domestic and professional settings. The company’s quality management system is ISO 13485-certified.
The company’s first two products are based on raw resin. Abilar® 10% Resin Salve meant for the treatment of wounds was launched in 2008 and Abicin® 30% Resin Lacquer intended for the treatment of fungal nail infections and paronychia just one year later in 2009. With the help of Resol Technology developed by Repolar in 2013, the company began to manufacture a non-sticky resin solution from resin. These antimicrobial resin solutions enable the even more diverse development of products intended for the treatment of people and animals. Of Repolar’s products, those based on Resol Technology are Resolain Scalp Tonic® a fluid for the treatment of scalp problems, AbiCare® Acne for the treatment of acne, irritated skin and rashes, and the Ani- series of products for the treatment of animals: AniVox® Ear Wash, AniWipe® Wet Wipes, AniLavo® Rinsing Liquid, AniDes® Wound Spray and AniWash® Treatment Shampoo.
Repolar is constantly carrying out further research to promote the well-being of people and animals, and among the permanent staff of the company are, for example, people with educational backgrounds in medicine, chemistry and pharmaceuticals. Repolar also actively cooperates with different research organisations in order to increase objective knowledge about the properties of resin.
Resol Technology is a method developed and patented by Repolar by which stable aqueous fluids can be manufactured from spruce (Picea abies) resin.
- Stable aqueous solution
- Natural: active ingredients from spruce resin
- Extensive and effective functionality
+ Spruce (Picea abies) resin – a natural raw material
Spruce resin is a compound of hundreds of different ingredients that spruce produces when it suffers damage. The purpose of the resin is to protect the tree from external effects such as various microbes (bacteria, fungus, yeast, mould), insects and also from drying out and other physical stress factors.
A tree first produces so-called physiological resin, which provides a physical barrier, and it later produces other compounds that are vitally important for long-term protection and healing of damage. The composition of the resin compound is based on millions of years of natural evolution, which have enabled trees to survive in the natural environment.
In order for this unique natural defence mechanism to be usable in modern medicine, proof is required of its safety, efficacy and functional properties in accordance with standards set for healthcare products.
Through Repolar’s unique, patented methods, it is possible to manufacture products that contain the active components of natural spruce resin without the sticky and thick raw resin. The processes have been designed to produce uniform-quality and safe compounds, while preserving the diverse natural effects of the resin, which protect and heal conifers.
As a result of substantial research, the resin-based products made by Repolar have been found to be safe. The only known exception to this is resin allergy, in which the acids contained in the resin cause local allergic reactions in people who are over-sensitive to natural resin (colophony).
The resin is collected from trees in northern Finland using a method that does not damage them. The closely monitored method of collection and quality control ensure that the resin’s broad functionality is preserved.
+ The unique properties of spruce (Picea abies) resin
Repolar Pharmaceuticals Oy has carried out extensive research into resin compounds and their efficacy, functionality and safety. The doctoral dissertation of Arno Sipponen (2013) gives a comprehensive picture of the results.
Research work carried out by Repolar on the resin collected using the new method has shown that it is strongly and broadly antimicrobial against common bacteria, fungus and yeast, including the most typical resistant bacteria such as MRSA and VRE. It is particularly effective against Gram-positive bacteria, but it also works against several Gram-negative bacteria like E. Coli. The anti-bacterial efficacy of resin also covers, for example, the Staphylococcus aureus bacterium which, together with its resistant version MRSA, is often a cause of wound infections. The efficacy of resin against fungus covers Tricophyton-, Microsporum- and Epidermophyton-type dermatophytes, among others. Tricophyton is a common cause of nail and foot fungus.
Resin is a microbicide against fungi that commonly cause fungal infections in people and animals. These include, for example, Malassezia and Candida albicans.
+ Research and product development
Research and development work and a strong focus on scientific and clinical research have been central to the operations of Repolar Pharmaceuticals Oy since the year 2000, even before the establishment of the company.
The scientific basis for all products lies in the fundamental scientific study of spruce resin and its efficacy in the treatment of people and animals. Our multidisciplinary research team consisted of specialists in medicine, microbiology, mycology, chemistry, forestry and technology. They were able to scientifically demonstrate the safety and efficacy of resin and resin products.
Repolar has carried out many clinical tests on its products and their effects, together with specialists in different fields. The company is working actively to strengthen its clinical evidence now and in the future through new studies. The company is also cooperating with its partners to develop new products and technologies for the use of resin in new applications and indications.
Repolar is concentrating on developing new products based on Resol Technology and is constantly further developing its technology. In that way, the unique properties of resin can be utilised in modern and practical healthcare products that promote the health of both humans and animals.