Orthocell (ASX:OCC) bone & soft tissue repair


by Jessica Amir

Orthocell Limited (ASX:OCC) Managing Director, Paul Anderson talks about the company's CelGro collagen-based scaffold, sales and distribution, progress with the US FDA and market opportunity.

Jessica Amir:
Hi, I'm Jessica Amir for the Finance News Network at FNN’s Small Cap Investor Event with Orthocell (ASX:OCC) Managing Director Paul Anderson.

Paul, welcome back.

Paul Anderson: Thanks, Jessica. Thanks for having me.

Jessica Amir: So, first up, you've just announced a very significant announcement. You've successfully repaired damaged nerve tissue. Just tell us about the announcement.

Paul Anderson: Yeah, thanks. I mean, a very exciting day for us. We've announced to the market today that we've been participating in a clinical study, that clinical study is focused on using our collagen-based medical device, known as CelGro, to regenerate severed or damaged nerves.

At the time of recording this interview, as a result of the announcement today, the share price has moved 170 per cent, and I think that's on the back of some really solid work that we've been doing, not just today and today's announcement, but over last two years in really validating this CelGro platform.

Jessica Amir: And congratulations on the announcement, but zooming out, Orthocell (ASX:OCC) works in the space of repairing bone, tendon and nerve damage. How is the business tracking?

Paul Anderson: Yeah, excellent. We're really a company in transition. We've spent a number of years now developing these technologies, we've spent a number of years validating these technologies, and we're really in a moment now where we're transitioning from an R&D company into a company that has defined products and we're now in a strong execution phase.

Jessica Amir: So in the space that you're working in, where is the biggest, greatest medical need, and how is the business working towards that?

Paul Anderson: The area that we're working in, the negative impacts of injuries, degenerate injuries in this space is prolific, and it has a huge, negative, cost economic effect on the community. People can't walk or they've got damaged arms affecting their activities of daily living. So there's a large unmet clinical needs right across the portfolio of products that we're addressing.

But further to that, what we've been seeing in the market is that regenerative medicine is here to stay, and we're seeing the large corporate end of town now recognising very, very clearly that if you're not in the regenerative medicine space, you're not playing in this game.

Jessica Amir: Paul, now to your portfolio. You have two groups of products. Just give us an update.

Paul Anderson: So the first product developed within the company is a stem cell approach for the regeneration of human tendon tissue. We're in advanced, randomised studies for that technology. So we have a stem cell approach which compliments the development of our collagen-based medical device, which is a platform technology.

So we initially developed CelGro purely as a cellular delivery mechanism, but as we went through the manufacturing process, we learnt more and more about this product and we realised that it had very, very unique characteristics that can be applied across a broad range of tissue types: bone, tendon and nerve repair.

So as a result, what we now have is a genuine platform technology with our first product approved in market in Europe for bone repair, and our follow-on products will be in the area of the nerve and tendon.

Jessica Amir: What are the avenues for growth?

Paul Anderson: The avenues for growth in this company are significant, and I think we find ourselves in a remarkable position. We have a first in class cellular therapy for the regeneration of human tendon tissue that we've partnered with Johnson & Johnson Innovation in a clinical study, which is designed to drive us through into the FDA process.

The opportunity with CelGro is enormous. We have a genuine platform technology that can be applied across several different tissue types, all of which have large unmet clinical needs. And for us, all the great work that we've done thus far in our clinical trials and validating this technology is really designed to drive these products into the US market, the FDA approval process, and we're really gearing ourselves up to do that with the support of some great clinicians, some very well designed clinical studies, and obviously some great collaborative relationships that we've formed to assist to drive us into this really important US-based market.

Jessica Amir: And now to financials, can you just give us an update on your first half results?

Paul Anderson: It's been an exciting time for us. It's a transition, as I mentioned before, away from an R&D-based company into a company that's executing their technologies. We've seen over 80 per cent increase in our revenues so far this year. But really the main focus for this company is really developing a set and a suite of technologies that we are able to engage with some of the very largest companies in the world, so it's really a partnering gain for us into these large markets with these large potential benefits to Orthocell (ASX:OCC).

Jessica Amir: And Paul, I do have to ask the question about the share price of the past 12 months. What can you tell us?

Paul Anderson: We certainly have seen some share price pressure, and I think that's as a result of the fact that we're a company in transition, transitioning from the R&D base more into an execution phase of the company, and so we've been working very hard on building a firm base for this company.

Our recent announcement around the regeneration of human nerve tissue has seen our share price rise by some 170-odd percent, and that's really reflective now of a realisation that this is a genuine platform, that it does have a role in regenerative medicine, and we have an asset which is of some major value.

Jessica Amir: Wonderful. Thank you so much for your time, Paul Anderson, and well done on the announcement.

Paul Anderson: Thank you, and it's my pleasure.


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