PolarityTE, a Salt Lake City-based biotechnology company, will tackle one of its toughest feats in history, creating technology capable of regenerating skin.
One of the most devastating injuries imaginable is serious, debilitating burns. People who are inflicted with such injuries often are forced to undergo extensive, painful treatments and left permanently disfigured.
The firm launched a new platform earlier this year that allows its products to regenerate a patient’s skin tissue utilizing their own cells.
“It is regenerating full thickness, fully functioning [skin] tissue of the patient,” president and CEO of PolarityTE, Dr. Denver Lough explains.
If PolarityTE is capable to pull this amazing feat off, they will push skin regeneration into various other arenas, including muscle, bone, fascia, nerve and cartilage.
“We see the potential in where things are today with the development of these technologies, said CEO Dr. Ned Swanson. “It could be totally revolutionary across a wide spectrum [of patients] throughout the world.”
Swanson and Lough were in medical residency at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore as plastic reconstructive surgeons until they founded PolarityTE. Through a reverse merger, the company went public in April, while receiving assistance from several high net-worth pharmaceutical investors.
The firm is currently preparing to unveil data that reveals for the very first time to capability to generate full-thickness, fully functioning skin in a pig model.
The swine model is the standard for skin research, because it is the closest comparison available to human skin. The scientists will lead the first human study in the next few months at burn centers throughout the country.
While at Johns Hopkins, Lough invented a skin product that involves the combination of biological growth factors and stem cells.
The company is currently creating a streamline process that would allow plastic surgeons in burn units to have everything they need in one box to collect a skin sample and send it to the lab for use in their normal operating procedure.
The company’s goal is to develop treatments that are readily available and affordable. Since the treatment utilizes naturally occurring organic materials, it does not require lengthy regulatory approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but only a registration. The company plans to do its own human testing to ensure reliability and safety.
“Polarity is really set out on providing this platform … to help physicians find ways to get that product on patients quickly at a lower cost with better outcomes,” Lough said. “We’re here to help [doctors] get the best products to patients as cheaply and as quickly as possible.
“It’s not all about profits,” Lough says. “It’s about getting the best products out there and really help humanity.”
The company is amid the animal testing phase and has plans to move forward to human testing with the next few months. A commercial production is planned for next year.
“It’s almost scareless,” Lough said. He estimates the healing process to take anywhere from two to three months.