May 27, 2009
Shares in Avita Medical rallied nearly 25 per cent this morning after the biotechnology company announced it had won $US1.45 million ($2 million) in funding from the United States Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) to accelerate approval of the company’s ReCell skin healing technology.
The intent from Avita and AFIRM, an arm of the US government, is to fast-track the skin healing technology for approval in the US so it can be used in commercial applications as well as by the armed forces to help care for soldiers hurt in the heat of battle.
Avita was awarded the grant following a highly competitive approval process that saw the Australian company compete against project submissions from over 25 other companies and universities.
Shares in Avita jumped nearly 25 per cent on the news to a high of 13.5 cents and were up 2.1, or 21.2 per cent, at 12 cents this afternoon.
The award of the AFIRM grant may also accelerate the US FDA approval process for ReCell – an important milestone in Avita’s commercialisation of the product, the company said.
ReCell is a spray-on treatment for burns victims that promises better healing and end results for patients than traditional skin graft procedures.
The technology was developed by Fiona Wood, a former Australian of the Year.
The AFIRM funding will provide capital for a 100-patient, multicentre trial of ReCell. Up to 10 US investigational sites will participate and the study site collection process will begin in the coming weeks.
Avita Medical chief executive William Dolphin said the grant from the US Armed Forces, which closely follows the funding of a medico-economic study by the French Ministry of Health, was another compelling endorsement of ReCell.
“The selection process was based on the identification of high impact, highly innovative technologies with the greatest likelihood of delivering clinical benefit. ReCell is a disruptive technology which we believe will redefine the clinical treatment of burns, scar remodeling and other skin defects and injuries.
“The underlying technology has enormous application in the field of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.”