OrthoCell: Paul Anderson explains why stem cells could be the answer for degenerated and damaged tendons




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Video title: OrthoCell: Paul Anderson explains why stem cells could be the answer for degenerated and damaged tendons
Released on: December 08, 2011. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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  • Summary
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks to Paul Anderson, Managing Director of OrthoCell.
Orthocell 's Technology of tissue repair and regeneration
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here in Adelaide at AusBiotech's convention. On this show I have Paul Anderson, who is Managing Director of a company called Orthocell based in Perth, Western Australia. Welcome to the show.
Paul Anderson:
Thank you Fintan, happy to be here.
Fintan Walton:
Good. So Paul, interesting company based in Perth as I said you are in this whole new area of regenerative medicine could you tell us first of all about the origins of the company, where the technology comes from?
Paul Anderson:
The origins of the company really stand back to 2006 when Professor Ming Zheng from the University of Western Australia came to me and said that he had some exciting research he was doing into the growth and regeneration of human tendon tissue and at that time I felt that there was some really strong commercial indicators that we should follow this process forward.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so obviously it's regenerative medicine what is the actual advance that's taken place, what can you do that you couldn't do before?
Paul Anderson:
Well effectively in the area of damaged tendon there is some large unmet clinical needs and once the tendon is degenerated it really struggles and the body struggles to repair itself and so what we are trying to do is to replicate the body's own unite ability to repair itself. So we harvest cells from the human body progenitor cells stem cells, we cultivate those in our facility and then we inject those back into the damaged area of tendon.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so these are the cells from the patients itself?
Paul Anderson:
They are targeted cells the target cells.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, right. So how does that actually work there, how would you make sure that the tendon is restructured in back to a normal tendon, how does that work?
Paul Anderson:
When a tendon is damaged and (indiscernable) damaged and has lost it's ability to repair itself there is a lack of cellular capability of that tissue and so that the growing cells at the tendon the tenocytes have disappeared they have died and so what we're really doing is replicating the body's own ability to repair itself that it has lost.
Clinical development programs and partnering strategy
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so obviously this is in a clinical development program right now, could you tell us a little bit about that clinical development program? Where is being doing and what stage you at?
Paul Anderson:
We have our facility in Western Australia, the facility in Western Australia is licensed by the TGA to manufacture human tissue, human tenocytes we have completed our Phase I studies in humans and we are now embarking on to level II studies randomized studies in different anatomical regions.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so where does that leave you as a company in terms of is it something you gonna pursue yourselves are you looking for partners for this particular program?
Paul Anderson:
We have a dual focus initially we are pursuing this ourselves, we are growing this business, we are able to deliver this technology into the Australian marketplace and Asian marketplace currently on the back above TGA license to manufacture the human tissue. We see that we have the capacity here in Australia to provide a very strong local to global approach, validate locally, develop clinical studies locally and then expand that adding to the global marketplace.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so in that expansion obviously you're gonna look for a particular partner?
Paul Anderson:
We would certainly be looking for partners and equity to assist us in that process and well it is a big market and a long way from Perth we see the partnering and developing strong clinical data can provide us with some real input to us to get that done.
Fintan Walton:
Right, now with the stem cell regenerative medicines are obviously a new area a lot of pharmaceutical companies are still looking at it they are not fully embedded in it, so when you look at this particular type of therapy and you're looking for a particular type of partner what type of partner is a suitable partner for this type of product?
Paul Anderson:
Look ideally we are looking for partners that do have some experience in the cell therapy space, people who are used to the GMP manufacture and the intricacies in delivering these types of technologies into the market and there are several companies globally that do have that sort of experience, but we also see a really growing interest from others from outside of that core who now see the significant market opportunities that live in this area.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so in the duality approach that you've talked about which is going it alone on the local level in order to get the right funding does that mean Orthocell will look to do an IPO in the future, would you need to?
Paul Anderson:
Certainly IPO is something which has been a part of our broad strategy right from day one we see a trade sale private equity and IPO is distinct opportunities for us to grow the business and so that is something which is potentially on the horizon for our company and we'd widen looking and see for those right opportunities.
Fintan Walton:
Right, people are talking at this conference about tax credits and so forth how does that affect a company like yours does that boost you?
Paul Anderson:
Certainly it is and it's been a very strong boost for our company, we do spend obviously a lot of money on R&D and so anything that we can leverage that up with this is a positive for our company.
Product pipeline: focus on cellular therapeutics and collagen scaffolds
Fintan Walton:
Good, so looking forward to the future Paul and seeing your company obviously you've got this lead program, have you got other programs in development behind this particular one?
Paul Anderson:
Certainly we do and we have a very strong pipeline of products, our initial focus has been in the cellular therapeutics area, our pipeline focus is really in the area of collagen scaffolds or medical device collagen scaffolds to compliment our cellular therapeutics focus.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so you're very much a sort of a tissue orientated company will that be a good way to describe it?
Paul Anderson:
Absolutely our focus has really been on the regeneration of human tendon tissue and our pipeline technology in the development of collagen scaffold is really on that the repair and regeneration of soft tissue they fix throughout whole of the body.
Future activities
Fintan Walton:
And Paul when you look into the future for the next couple of years what landmarks do you see coming for your company?
Paul Anderson:
Well we're very, very excited about the future, we see there is a big future for the regeneration of a human tendon tissue it is a large unmet clinical need currently and we are also extremely excited about our collagen development program, we see applications both in general surgical, and gynecological, urological and even ENT surgeries have the evidence to a need to try an effective collagen scaffold to repair and assist in regeneration of human tissue.
Fintan Walton:
Paul Anderson, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Paul Anderson:
My pleasure.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Paul Anderson
Managing Director
At the time of recording this PTV interview Paul Anderson works as Managing Director of Orthocell. Paul Anderson has over 14 yrs experience in the medical device and cellular therapeutic fields with expertise in bridging the gap between research and clinical practice in the development of emerging medical technologies. This encompasses applying the regulatory framework to the product and the accompanying 'grey area' interpretation, rebating pathways, marketing, sales, developing orthopedic relationships, strategic and financial planning. Paul has a strong track record with his previous board position with Verigen Australia Pty Ltd a human cell therapies company.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
Orthocell
Orthocell Pty Ltd is a biotherapeutic technology development company that addresses unmet clinical needs within the orthopedics sector. The company focuses on biological therapies for tendon and ligament tissue repair and regeneration. It provides Autologous Tenocyte Implantation (ATI), a process that involves in regenerating a patient's tendon cells to assist in the treatment of torn or damaged tendons common in shoulder , ankle , and elbow injuries ; Autologous Tenocyte Therapy (ATT), which involves in regenerating a patient's own tendon cells to assist in the accelerated treatment of torn or damaged tendons, common in shoulder , ankle , and elbow injuries; and CellGro Scaffold (CellGro), which involves in the use of a novel collagen based scaffold, which acts as a delivery system for the patient's cultured tenocyte cells that are seeded into the collagen matrix and also provides biomechanical support and stabilization to the damaged tendon. The company was incorporated in 2006 and is based in Murdoch, Australia.