13 Jul 2010

Skin tissue company looking for markets in US

8:00 pm on 13 July 2010

A Lower Hutt company that specialises in regenerative tissue aims to launch a skin wound treatment product in the United States later this year.

Mesynthes was started in 2007. It uses sheep tissue as a raw ingredient to produce biomaterials that help restart the healing process and speed new tissue growth in patients.

Earlier this year, Mesynthes received US regulatory approval that paves the way for its products to be used to patch up skin wounds or treat burns.

It's also working on products for internal use, such as hernia repairs and recovering from surgery where there is a high risk of infection, including tumours.

In the US, the treatment of chronic and complex wounds has been estimated at $US20 billion per year, and Mysynthes is aiming to launch its first skin wound treatment product there later this year.

Chief executive Dr Brian Ward says New Zealand's agricultural base gives Mysynthes an advantage in developing these type of medical devices, including having the safest, cleanest and most disease-free tissue sources.

The company aims to bring forward a line of products based on this technology, to build revenues of $30 - $50 million potentially over the next three to five years.

The company is looking to secure partnerships with major medical device companies, and for investment of up to $10 million.

Dr Ward says medical device companies such as Mesynthes have a shorter development and regulatory approval times, which mean it has a much lower risk of failure than many other life science companies.

Mesynthes received backing from Movac, Sparkbox and the New Zealand Venture investment Fund in 2007.