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UK Government Grant for Skin Wound Re-Generation Treatment

28th July 2010

Ilika plc (AIM:IKA), the advanced cleantech materials discovery company, is delighted to announce that a collaboration between three UK organisations with world-leading technology in the field of skin regeneration, led by Altrika Limited (“Altrika”), Ilika’s healthcare-focused subsidiary, has been awarded a £153,000 grant from the UK government for the development of a treatment for full thickness skin wounds.

Altrika, the RAFT Institute and the Cardiff University have secured the grant from the Technology Strategy Board to bring together their technology and expertise to address a market currently worth over £6.0 billion.

Existing technologies in the field of skin wound treatment have shown some success, but there is no universally accepted solution to the problem of hard-to-heal wounds. This is largely due to the delicate nature of these wounds and the inability of the existing products to cope with a range of conditions in which they must work. Many of the products currently available are prohibitively expensive, further preventing their broader uptake. It is estimated that there are nearly half a million unhealed chronic skin wounds in the UK alone.

This programme brings together Altrika’s market-leading polymer surface technology for epidermal regeneration, which forms the basis of its Myskin® and Cryoskin® burns treatment products, the SmartMatrix dermal scaffold currently being developed by the RAFT Institute and the micro-engineering capabilities of the Manufacturing Engineering Centre (MEC) at Cardiff University. By combining the epidermal and dermal components, the programme aims to develop a more robust, full thickness solution which is both more effective and more cost effective than existing solutions.

Commenting on the award, Ilika’s Chief Executive, Graeme Purdy, said: “We are delighted to have secured this grant from the Technology Strategy Board. Myskin® and Cryoskin® are already in successful commercial production; combining this technology with the SmartMatrix scaffold will allow us to enhance our commitment to the treatment of problematic wounds. Altrika’s team is looking forward to working with their peers at the RAFT Institute, whose reputation and commitment to providing much needed innovative healing solutions extends to both civilian and military applications.”

Leonor Stjepic, Chief Executive of the RAFT Institute, said: “The SmartMatrix project is a key development for the RAFT Institute and this grant will allow us to take it several steps further. We are pleased to be working with both the MEC and Altrika, whose technology, clinical and market experience in this field will prove invaluable as the project progresses to market.”

– Ends –

ENQUIRIES

Ilika plc
Tel. +44 (0) 23 8011 1400
Graeme Purdy, Chief Executive
Steve Boydell, Finance Director

Pelham Bell Pottinger
Tel. +44 (0) 20 7861 3232
Archie Berens
Francesca Tuckett

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Ilika

Ilika is an advanced materials company which accelerates the discovery of new and patentable materials using its unique high throughput technologies (‘‘HTT’’) process for identified end uses in the energy, electronics and biomedical sectors. This process enables hundreds of scalable materials to be made in a single, automated operation and subsequently tested for key properties.

Traditionally, materials development has been a slow and arduous task, with manual, sequential methods used to make samples of material that are then tested for suitability. On average, it takes between 7 and 10 years to move from an initial discovery through to the first commercial prototype. Experiments carried out by the Company can be executed 10 to 100 times faster than using traditional techniques.

The Company focuses on three principal sectors and has a number of active development programmes addressing markets within each sector:

Energy - developing innovative new materials for Lithium-ion batteries for vehicles for Toyota; developing high capacity hydrogen storage materials with Shell Hydrogen and Johnson Matthey through joint development programmes; developing cheaper alternatives to Platinum electrodes for use in fuel cells through a grant-funded project with the Carbon Trust; developing new materials for use in fuel cells for the transport sector for a major vehicle manufacturer; and carrying out in-house research on film photovoltaic solar cells.

Electronics - developing lead-free piezoelectric materials through a joint development programme with CeramTec; and developing phase change memory materials for high capacity memory chips and is currently in negotiations with a major electronics manufacturer.

Biomedical - developing polymers to enable the filtering of somatic stem cells from blood with a major global supplier of filters; it has been selling its Cryoskin and Myskin products for the treatment of burns and wounds in the UK through a specialist distributor and intends to commence clinical trials of its corneal bandage candidate.

The Group’s commercialisation strategy is to enter into joint development or licensing agreements with large multinational companies which are seeking to commercialise products developed using the intellectual property created through jointly-funded programmes. Current commercialisation partners include large multinational companies such as Toyota, Shell, Johnson Matthey and CeramTec. The Company generates revenues from three sources: licensing and milestone payments from joint development programmes; fee for service from contract research projects; and from sales of Cryoskin and Myskin.

About Altrika Ltd.

Altrika Ltd. was spun out of Ilika Technologies, a global leader in high throughput materials discovery in December 2008 to focus on the development and exploitation of novel materials in the biomedical sector. Altrika works with leading medtech companies to identify novel materials for specific applications, as well as developing solutions in-house for the next generation of medical products. Altrika runs a GMP manufacturing facility in Sheffield, UK, licensed by both the UK Human Tissue Authority (HTA) and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to supply its Cryoskin® and Myskin® services on a named patient basis. Cryoskin® and Myskin® are distributed in the UK by Cranage Healthcare Ltd.

About the RAFT Institute

Around the world, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people are affected by skin disfiguring illnesses and damage such as burns, wounds and skin cancer. RAFT is here to help them. RAFT stands for the Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust. We are a registered charity carrying out pioneering research into practical and affordable ways to save and repair skin. Currently our core areas of research are burns, wound healing and skin cancer.

Burns and Wound Healing Research: Patients suffering from severe skin loss through burns and wounds need urgent lifesaving cover. RAFT scientists are currently investigating a groundbreaking skin replacement technology to provide this vital cover to improve the outcome and quality of lives for thousands of patients.

Skin Cancer Research: Skin cancer is the most rapidly increasing form of cancer In the UK. Here at RAFT we are currently studying the available protection, analysing susceptibility, and researching new cures and treatment for this difficult disease. Alongside our research, we also aim to provide rigorously tested scientific information about sun damage to skin, allowing the public to make informed decisions regarding their sunbathing and tanning habits.

About the MEC at Cardiff University

The MEC conducts world-class research and development in all major areas of Advanced Manufacturing and uses the output to promote the introduction of new manufacturing technology and practice to industry. The Centre’s advanced and innovative manufacturing research spans a broad spectrum of subjects, from Robotics and Microsystems, Sensor Systems, High-speed Automation and Intelligent Control, Rapid Manufacturing, MicroManufacturing, NanoTechnology, Quality Engineering, Multi-Media, Virtual Reality and Enterprise Information Management. The focus of the MEC Micro and Nano Manufacturing (MNM) programme is on Advanced Manufacturing technologies for micro- and nano-systems, one of the priority areas in the UK Technology Strategy. In taking forward the innovation agenda, the aim of our MNM programme is to facilitate the creation of manufacturing capabilities in the UK to meet demands for: product miniaturisation through innovative integration and development of knowledge-based technologies and production concepts (especially micro and nano) for processing of non-silicon materials; prediction of product and process performance to reduce/manage the risk during product development and production, and reduce time to market for the next generation of microsystems-based products; future product platforms to meet the requirements of the next generation of microsystems-based products, and of more stringent regulations and environmental legislation; production scale-up to ensure effective and efficient transfer of product and technology ideas from laboratories to serial production. The MNM programme includes a portfolio of national and EC-funded projects with a total budget in excess of £13M.

About the Technology Strategy Board

The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the government. Its role is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve the quality of life. It is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). For further information please visit www.innovateuk.org

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