HEALING AGENT IS A GROWING PROJECT
Written on the 9 August 2012 by James Perkins
AN INVESTMENT in medical science seven years ago is about to reap worldwide rewards for a Brisbane company.
A breakthrough tissue-healing treatment developed by a Brisbane scientist is on the brink of being launched into international medical markets.
It was a chance meeting at a Boston biotechnology conference seven years ago that first put the project on the path to commercialisation.
Professor Zee Upton (pictured) and financier Greg Baynton worked in Brisbane offices just two kilometres apart.
But they had never met until they happened to share a table during a dinner break at the Boston conference.
Upton, a Queensland University of Technology biotechnology professor, was in the early stages of developing VitroGro ECM and enthusiastically described to Baynton how her product assisted in treating complex and difficult-to-heal wounds.
In lay terms, VitroGro ECM produces a favourable environment for healing. It acts like an adhesive agent, holding new cells in place while they begin the skin repair process.
Baynton, founder and managing director of Orbit Capital, was intrigued. Shortly after his initial meeting with Upton, he agreed to sink funds into the project.
After many stages of development and research, VitroGro ECM is on course to be launched in Europe this year by Brisbanebased Tissue Therapies.
Baynton is a director of the company. In a boost for the product’s worldwide profile, Tissue Therapies has been asked to showcase the product as the same Boston conference where Baynton and Upton first met.
Tissue Therapies CEO Steve Mercer says it is an “honour’’ to present a session at 2012 BIO, which will be attended by about 15,000 delegates from more than 60 countries.
“It is quite rare that a small company will be given the opportunity to present a session, and even rarer for a company from outside the United States to do so and we are grateful for the opportunity,” he says.
There are four patents pending on VitroGro ECM. It has succeeded in pre-clinical and clinical trials and the company has an application for sale lodged with the European Union.
“Following the EU application, we will lodge applications for sale in both Australia and Canada, as they have mutual agreements with the markets in the EU,” says Mercer.
There are 12 pallets of VitroGro ECM ready to go once the European authorities give it the all clear.
A further clinical trial of the product for the treatment of chronic venous ulcers will be done in the United States later this year.