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Stratatech receives $3.5 million to develop skin substitute

Stratatech Corp. has been awarded a $3.5 million Fast-Track SBIR grant to develop its anti-infective living human skin substitute. Stratatech was one of only a few companies that received an award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). For this project, Stratatech is partnering with the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Waisman Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility.

The NIAID grant will fund development work that will focus on the efficacy of a genetically-modified living human skin substitute called ExpressGraftEnhance tissue in the prevention and disruption of biofilms. A biofilm is a community of bacteria growing in a matrix that adheres to a surface. Biofilms inhibit wound healing and are highly resistant to antibiotic treatment. In addition, the naturally-occurring dispersal of biofilms is thought to play an important role in the aggravation and spread of disease. The National Institutes of Health estimates that biofilms play a role in 80 percent of human infectious disease.

“There is an urgent need to develop a robust therapeutic skin substitute capable of disrupting and preventing wound biofilms,” said Lynn Allen-Hoffmann, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and chief executive of Stratatech. “Because of the initial work we’ve done on our ExpressGraftEnhance skin substitute tissue, we believe it can be a frontline tool in fighting wound infection, improving skin graft take and advancing patient care. Our goal is to commercialize the ExpressGraftEnhance skin substitute for use in treating skin wounds that are difficult to heal because of bacterial colonization and biofilm formation by wound pathogens. The studies funded by this NIAID grant are designed to generate the preclinical data that’s required to support translation of the ExpressGraftEnhance tissue into human clinical trials.”

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