An Inside Look At Advanced BioHealing
Today’s Wound Clinic spoke to Dean Tozer, who is currently Senior Vice President of Advanced BioHealing, to find out more about the company’s goals and projects for the future.
Today’s Wound Clinic (TWC): When was your company founded and where is the company located?
Dean Tozer (DT): Advanced BioHealing was founded in 2003. The company maintains its corporate office in Westport, Conn. with additional sites in La Jolla, Calif. and Brentwood, Tenn.
TWC: How long have you personally been in the wound care section of healthcare and how did you get into this area of specialty?
DT: Over the past 20 years, I have been involved with the design and execution of global development and commercial strategies for pharmaceutical, molecular diagnostic, and biomedical device product portfolios. My involvement in the wound care section of healthcare began about five years ago when ABH was looking to acquire the assets to Dermagraft® from Smith and Nephew. Canaan Partners, who were early investors in ABH, brought me in to assist with the due diligence. Upon researching Dermagraft and the potential market, I found that the product was based on strong science, it addressed a significant unmet medical need, and although it hadn’t been successfully commercialized, it looked like an interesting business opportunity. That’s when I decided to join ABH as an executive and subsequently helped lead the reintroduction of Dermagraft into the U.S. wound care market.
TWC: What do you find most rewarding about providing products to medical directors and wound care clinicians?
DT: To patients who face amputation if their diabetic foot ulcer doesn’t heal, advanced therapies like Dermagraft, can provide hope during the treatment process. We continually see diabetic foot ulcers that make tremendous progress in wound closure after just two to three applications of Dermagraft. It’s pretty amazing when a patient comes back a week after their Dermagraft application and the physician or nurse takes off the wound dressing. Many times you can literally see the healing occur in front of your eyes. We believe Dermagraft is helping the body regenerate the cells that surround the edge of the wound bed and allowing those cells to start filling in over this temporary dermis, which is what Dermagraft is. With Dermagraft, we are making a huge impact on people’s lives. This approach to healing wounds is a prime example of the potential of the emerging field regenerative medicine.
TWC: How many different types/series of products do you make? Please list your most popular ones.
DT: Advanced BioHealing markets and manufactures Dermagraft, a cryopreserved human fibroblast-derived dermal substitute; it is composed of fibroblasts, extracellular matrix, and a bioresorbable scaffold. Dermagraft is approved by the FDA and is indicated for use in the treatment of full-thickness diabetic foot ulcers. It has been applied more than 250,000 times in over 1,000 wound care centers and outpatient clinics nationwide.
TWC: What would you say makes your company unique in the wound care setting?
DT: One of our company’s most distinguishing factors is that we manufacture and market Dermagraft, an advanced wound care product that contains living human fibroblast cells. Dermagraft incorporates patented technology that was developed through many years of research, and it is a safe and effective bio-engineered skin substitute that heals diabetic foot ulcers faster than standard treatment. Advanced BioHealing is one of a few companies in healthcare, not just wound care, that are successfully providing cell-based therapies to physicians and patients.
TWC: Please tell our readers something about your company that they may not know?
DT: Advanced BioHealing is dedicated to supporting clinicians and patients by raising awareness about diabetic foot ulcers—one of the most common and most serious co-morbidities of diabetes—and aims to help the thousands of people across the nation who are at risk of developing this condition.
In an effort to do so, Advanced BioHealing developed Heal2gether, a community health education program, to provide patients and their families with the resources they need to understand diabetic foot ulcers, why they need to take special care of their feet, how to identify the early warning signs, and how to prevent them in the future.
TWC: Please describe the mission/vision of your company in wound care and any of your goals that you would like to highlight.
DT: Our grand vision is to become a global leader in the field of regenerative medicine. To accomplish this goal, Advanced BioHealing is focused on developing and commercializing living cell-based therapies that repair damaged human tissue and enable the body to heal itself.
Specifically with regard to diabetic foot ulcers, Advanced BioHealing is committed to producing and distributing Dermagraft, a breakthrough product for this debilitating condition—an underserved market for which we believe we haven’t even begun to tap the potential. The company will continue to concentrate on commercialization, and leveraging its expertise in the manufacturing, reimbursement and sales and marketing of living cell-based therapies to expand Dermagraft into additional indications and geographies. Clinical trials for a potential venous leg ulcer indication are currently underway.
Overall, the company is dedicated to the business of science, which not only enabled the company to identify, re-introduce to market and commercialize Dermagraft, but also outlines an approach and discipline for evaluating future opportunities to expand its role as one of the premier regenerative medicine companies in the world.
TWC: Looking ahead, what are some things that the company is working on for 2011 and beyond?
DT: The number of patients with diabetic foot ulcers is expected to grow as the number of people with diabetes increases worldwide.
Advanced BioHealing plans to maintain its sharp focus on expanding the market for Dermagraft through penetrating the underserved diabetic foot ulcer market. In addition, Dermagraft is currently the focus of an ongoing pivotal trial to assess the product’s safety and efficacy in the promotion of healing venous leg ulcers.
TWC: Do you have any advice for clinicians who are unsure about what products/services are best for their wound care clinic?
DT: As many clinicians know, if not treated properly, diabetic foot ulcers can result in serious complications, including amputation. Given the severity of this condition, doctors and nurses trained as wound care specialists and other experts within the field of wound care are advocating for the use of evidence-based medicine. Advanced
BioHealing is committed to advancing the standard of care for the treatment of diabetic foot uclers, and advises clinicians to adopt advanced therapies to accelerate wound healing and decrease complications in non-healing wounds. Advanced therapies include living skin equivalents, like Dermagraft; topical gels, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and negative pressure wound therapy.
Each wound is unique and clinicians have a lot of different options in products/services. By taking an evidence-based approach to wound healing and using clinically proven advanced therapies, they will have the best chance of helping their patients to close their chronic wounds.
TWC: How can wound care clinicians get in touch with a representative to learn more about your company and products?
DT: Wound care clinicians can learn more by visiting www.dermagraft.com or by calling our customer service department at 1.877.DERMAGRAFT (337.6247).
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