Regenix aims to be a global leader in new field of medicine

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TISSUE Regenix, the company which grows replacement body parts, is working with partners to commercialise its heart, leg ulcer, vascular and knee repair research.

The York-based company uses animal and human tissue to replace damaged or worn out body parts.

Announcing a reduction in annual losses, the company said its aim is to become a global leader in regenerative medicine.

A £25m share placing last December has given the company the financial firepower to press ahead with a number of new products.

The first is the development of replacement heart valves and the group is in early stage discussions to develop commercial agreements with tissue banks in Europe.

Data has shown Tissue Regenix’s heart valves to be superior to rival products. The technology uses a donated human heart valve, washes out the cells and the DNA to leave a blank canvas that can be re-populated with the patient’s own cells.

Chairman John Samuel said: “Although at an early stage we believe these products have the potential to represent a tremendous advance in this field.”

The second is a pilot study of the use of human donor skin in the treatment of chronic wounds, which was initiated with UK development partner NHSBT.

Tissue Regenix’s managing director Antony Odell said the recent case of great-grandmother Jessie Townley, whose 20-year-old leg ulcer was completely cured using the group’s technology, has put the process on the map.

“Leg ulcers cost the NHS £1bn a year so we’re very excited about the outcome,” he said.

The group will reveal the result of a 20-patient trial, of whom Ms Townley is one, in the second half of the year.

A porcine donor version is also under examination.

The third is the commercialisation of a vascular patch which can be used in arteries in the thigh. Vascular patches patch up the hole left behind following the clearing out of blood vessels.

“This is important for diabetics as, after so many injections, you can compromise the vein,” said Mr Odell. “We can regenerate the compromised part.”

Tissue Regenix is talking to the FDA about approval for use in the US and it is preparing the additional data the FDA has asked for.

The company is also looking at how the vascular patch could be used to mend head and neck arteries.

The fourth is meniscal repair for damaged knees. A preclinical trial is nearing its end and data should be available in the second half of the year.

The company said there is a very large, but un-met, clinical need for this product and initial feedback from surgeons has been encouraging.

Asked when one of these new products will start earning cash, the group said the key ones are knee and heart although there is a lot of interest in skin and vascular patches.

In the year to January 31, pre-tax losses fell from £5.7m to £2.9m.

Mr Samuel said: “The chronic global shortage of donor tissue will result in clinical demand for products to address this issue continuing to increase.

“Tissue Regenix’s programmes in Cardiac, Orthopaedics, Vascular and Advanced Woundcare are ideally placed to provide long-term solutions to replace and regenerate diseased or aging body parts.”

The advanced wound care market alone is worth around $5bn a year globally, which means Tissue Regenix has a lot to play for.

At the same time, chronic wounds and diabetic foot ulcers are placing huge burdens on healthcare systems.

ros.snowdon@ypn.co.uk