Tissue Regenix Group Plc, a U.K. maker of replacement body parts, agreed to license its cell-removal technology to a U.S. tissue bank that will produce a human-skin replacement for sale next year.
Tissue Regenix will pay Community Tissue Services of Dayton, Ohio, a processing fee for decellularized skin that the tissue bank produces with the company’s dCell technology, managing director Antony Odell said.
The agreement gives the York, England-based company a supply of tissue to make the product, which it can then sell in the U.S. and in other countries. U.S. laws prohibit the non-profit bank, which handles 10 percent of tissue grafts in the U.S., from making money on the tissue, though the bank can provide the tissue to its own service users, Odell said.
“They will get to distribute the dermis to some of their customers,” Odell said in a telephone interview. “It enables them to use more tissue. We can also market the tissue through selected partners in the U.S. to increase the coverage beyond what they can achieve.”
The skin tissue produced with Tissue Regenix’s dCell technology will be used in wound-care products for chronic skin ulcers and potentially for burns and orthopedic and dental purposes, Odell said. The projected market for wound-healing devices and equipment is $1.5 billion in 2016 in the U.S., he said. The agreement with the tissue bank covers other potential applications in orthopedics and vascular conditions.
Tissue Regenix closed unchanged at 8.88 pence a share in London, giving the company a market value of 57.9 million pounds ($90.6 million). The stock has fallen 30 percent this year. The company’s biggest shareholder is Invesco Ltd., which owns 29.5 percent of the shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The dCell technology involves taking animal tissue and removing cellular material from it that would cause humans to reject the implant. That allows doctors to replace worn out or diseased body parts without anti-rejection drugs.
“We take human tissue, apply a series of very gentle washes and remove the cells and DNA,” Odell said. “What you end up with is a matrix which, when it’s placed into the wound space, it repopulates with the patient’s own cells. It’s a natural healing mechanism.”
A pilot study of Tissue Regenix’s technology found there was complete wound healing in 12 of 20 patients who had 13-centimeter to 14-centimeter (5-inch to 6-inch) skin wounds that had existed for an average of just under five years, Odell said.
Tissue Regenix is establishing a sales force to help promote the wound-care product in the U.S. in the first half of next year and is talking to a number of distributors who are interested in selling it there, too, Odell said. He declined to identify the potential partners and said Tissue Regenix is weighing whether to ally with multinational companies or smaller U.S.-focused ones.
“There are pros and cons to both,” Odell said. “We don’t want to become a little thing in somebody else’s portfolio.”