Biotech company Orthocell is preparing to expand to US with a patch made from pig collagen that repairs nerves without the need for stitches

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“Think of it as a one-inch car seat pad, which is used to wrap a nerve and negate the need for doctors to suture that nerve together, thereby inserting a needle into that delicate nerve tissue,” said he.

“It looks a bit like a piece of collagen Velcro wrapping around the nerve.”

Orthocell has tapped Crown Perth chairman and former HBF boss John Van Der Wielen to guide the ASX-listed company through a threatened entry into the US and help protect it from any potential takeover.

Orthocell CEO Paul Anderson (left) and chairman John Van Der Wielen. Trevor Collens

“The best way to defend something is to have really high-quality strategic shareholders behind you. We are now looking for those solid strategic investors… they can help you defend a takeover,” he said.

The company announced on Monday that the University of Western Australia had agreed to exchange its royalty rights in Orthocell for equity in the form of 2.36 million shares (1.19 percent).

Former Australian of the Year and leading plastic surgeon Dr Fiona Wood has also been added to the board as the company strengthens its reputation ahead of a global push.

Beyond the obvious positive impact on individual patients, Mr Van Der Wielen said the wider economic impact of the technology remained, which convinced him to become chairman of the company earlier this year.

“Some of the products that help us live longer are amazing, but they actually increase the cost of healthcare – so humanity wins because you and I live longer – but economically it becomes very difficult for governments to finance some of today’s products “, he said. .

“There are many innovations that are positive for humanity, but negative for our health economy. This has the potential to not only improve health outcomes, but also reduce costs.”

Dr. Wood, who gained global recognition for developing spray-on skin used to treat victims of the 2002 Bali terrorist attacks, said the Orthocell technology offered an opportunity to improve on what was currently available.

“It’s unique, it works,” she said. “The ability to restore function is, under certain circumstances, life-changing.”

Mr Anderson said Orthocell would work with US regulators to gain access to the key market before expanding into Europe.

“The big ticket for us is the United States, the largest healthcare market in the world,” he said.

“John’s skills are uniquely tailored for the next phase of this company.”

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