May 24 (UPI) -- New Zealand's startup regenerative medicine company, Upside Biotechnologies, has signed a development agreement with the U.S. Army.
The Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, or CRADA, with the Army's Medical Research and Materiel Command is for Upside's engineered skin product developed for people who have sustained major burns.
"This U.S. Army input will be hugely valuable to Upside and will fully assist us in successfully progressing our product to the benefit of all burn sufferers, including U.S. warriors," said Upside Chief Executive Officer Dr. Robert Feldman.
"USAMRMC is pleased to provide guidance to Upside Biotechnologies as it navigates the U.S. FDA approval process for a novel skin replacement product," added Susan Taylor, product manager for the Tissue Injury and Regenerative Medicine Project Management Office at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity.
"This product may provide a critical solution in the treatment of service members who have sustained severe burns. Our goal is to help Upside move this product as quickly and as safely as possible through the regulatory process, so it is available to our wounded service members."
Upside's technology enables a small sample of unburnt patient skin to be grown in the laboratory into large areas of full-thickness skin. The lab-grown skin can be used as skin grafts in patients.
The Upside skin is said to be produced faster than that fd any competitive product and has handling characteristics preferred by surgeons.