York Pharma moves in to save Celltran

CELLTRAN, a company that helps to ease the pain of people who have suffered chronic burns, was saved from the threat of closure yesterday when it was sold by its administrators.

Pharmaceutical company York Pharma acquired some of the assets and the continuing business of Sheffield-based Celltran from administrators PKF.

Celltran, a spin out from the University of Sheffield, was founded in 2000 by Sheila MacNeil and Robert Short, two academics from the university.

The company is best known for developing a treatment for burns and ulcers that uses the patient's living cells.

The cells are then transplanted on to wounds, thus avoiding any hostile reactions from the body.

CellTran went into administration on May 30 this year, after running out of funds for product development and distribution.

Since then, the company has been run by a skeleton staff of six under the control of a team from accountants and business advisers PKF, led by business recovery partners Charles Escott and Willie Duncan, who were appointed joint administrators.

The acquisition expands Milton Keynes-based York Pharma's range of products in the dermatology sector.

Celltran's flagship product, Myskin, was launched in 2005 and was intended to be the first in a range treating burns and other wounds, such as diabetic ulcers, that do not respond to normal treatment. Cryoskin, another product which heals wounds caused by burns, has also been launched.

During the period of administration, the company's operations have continued and it has maintained its supply of skin products to burns victims.

York Pharma will acquire these assets for a consideration of 70,000 plus the payment of royalties on sales for five years.

The assets are expected to be self-financing within 12 months following the acquisition. Before Celltran went into administration, more than 5m had been invested in developing products.

Terry Sadler, chief executive of York Pharma, said: "We are delighted to have secured the acquisition of two further marketed products to add to our existing dermatology and wound care portfolio. Myskin and Cryoskin are both leading-edge patented technologies approved for the treatment of chronic wounds."

Speaking for the administrators, Charles Escott of PKF, said: "I'm delighted to announce this development, not least since it preserves some potentially life-saving technology and years of product development. I'm sure that York Pharma will be able to take CellTran's products to full development and commercial success.

"Considering the level of interest in the business, which came from as far away as California, Korea and Switzerland, it's also pleasing the successful buyers also have a site in Sheffield, and the commercial benefits of this important technology will therefore continue to accrue in Yorkshire."