Regenerating Tissue with Tissue Regenix (LON:TRX)
In the past, we’ve discussed a number of startup 3D bioprinting companies that are looking to create human tissues using 3D bioprinting, though all are in the early stages of development. The only publicly traded company involved solely in 3D bioprinting, Organovo (ONVO), has seen their share price fall over -40% year-to-date even though they announced last week the commercial Release of their exVive3D Human Liver Tissue. While these tissues may be useful for drug development applications, the ability to create replacement organs is a long ways away. However 3D printing is not the only method for creating replacement tissues. While not targeting the creation of organs, a small UK company called Tissue Regenix is working on creating replacement skin tissues, valves, and vessels.
About Tissue Regenix
UK-based Tissue Regenix was founded in 2006 to commercialize the academic research of two professors from the University of Leeds who are working in the field of tissue decellularization. In July 2010, Tissue Regenix (LON:TRX) began trading on AIM through a reverse takeover. AIM is a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange, allowing smaller companies to float shares with a more flexible regulatory system that is applicable to the main market, similar to the over-the-counter (OTC) market. TRX’s share price spiked +300% in the first half of this year in anticipation of the US release of their DermaPure product into the U.S.A,, an event that took place in the first half of this year. Since then the shares have settled back down but are still up +86% since the IPO. TRX has a current market cap of $235 million USD with almost no revenues and $22 million USD in cash on hand as of July 2014.
Tissue Regenix’s patented decellularisation (‘dCELL®) technology takes human donor skin and removes the DNA and other cellular material from it leaving a tissue scaffold which is not rejected by the patient’s body and can aid natural healing by attracting the patient’s own cells to the wound area. The Company’s lead product, DermaPure, is essentially replacement skin available in 3 sizes of sheets:
Dermapure can be stored at ambient temperature and comes hydrated, with only a simple rinse required prior to use. An initial U.K. clinical study of DermaPure for patients with chronic wounds that had lasted on average 4½ years long saw 60% of the patients completely healed following treatment. Additionally, there was an average of 87% reduction in the size of all wounds across the board. The study was conducted on a sample of twenty patients with treatment-resistant ulcers. While competing solutions can require up to eight applications, Dermapure requires only one application which comes with a simple set of instructions.
Dermapure is initially being aimed at helping patients with diabetic foot ulcers, a condition which affects around 600,000 people in the USA each year, and patients with venous leg ulcers, which currently affect around 2.5 million people in the USA. TRX estimates the total addressable wound care market for Dermapure is around $1.4 billion. Last year TRX signed a processing agreement with Community Tissue Services (CTS), one of the largest tissue banks in North America. TRX has also developed an initial distribution network covering in excess of 80% of the USA which is currently focused on promoting Dermapure.
While the leading product targets wound care, TRX is also looking to commercialize cardiac and vascular applications of their technology as seen below:
In an article published by Bloomberg in June of this year, the CEO of Tissue Regenix speculated that one or more parts of the Company could be easily acquired since it is easily split into three operating units; orthopedic, wound care and cardiac products. An analyst following TRX also speculated that it could be an acquisition target stating that “the U.K.’s lower corporate tax rate makes its companies attractive for U.S.-based companies”.
While rather dated, this 2010 paper by Wounds International shows that there are many competing or substitute products in the field of wound care management. With the emergence of revenues, investors will be expecting to see strong growth that helps validate that the dCell technology can be successfully commercialized and offers a more viable alternative to competing solutions.
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