Israeli regenerative medicine company CollPlant has signed a licence, development and commercialisation agreement with US-based biotechnology firm United Therapeutics regarding the 3D bioprinting of lung transplants.

The deal covers CollPlant’s recombinant human collagen (rhCollagen) and BioInk technology, which is produced using raw materials from plants.

United Therapeutics will gain an exclusive licence to produce and use rhCollagen-based BioInk via CollPlant’s wholly owned subsidiary Lung Biotechnology, which is involved in organ manufacturing and transplantation.

“The deal covers CollPlant’s recombinant human collagen (rhCollagen) and BioInk technology, which is produced using raw materials from plants.”

As per the terms of the agreement, the technology will be initially used for 3D bioprinting of solid-organ scaffolds for human lung transplants. United Therapeutics holds an option to further the licence for up to three additional organs.

CollPlant agreed to manufacture and supply BioInk for a few years in order to meet development process demand. The company will also offer technical support to United Therapeutics during the establishment of an rhCollagen and BioInk manufacturing facility in the US.

CollPlant CEO Yehiel Tal said: “We strongly believe that our proprietary and proven rhCollagen is the finest building block for regenerative medicine scaffolds available today, and will play a critical role in the organ manufacturing process.

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“This strategic agreement is a major achievement for CollPlant as it aligns us with a global leader, validates our technology and creates value for our shareholders.”

Under the agreement, United Therapeutics will make a $5m upfront payment, as well as up to $15m operational and regulatory milestone-based payments to CollPlant.

In addition, CollPlant is eligible for option exercise payments of up to $9m plus up to $15m in developmental milestone payments if United Therapeutics decides to manufacture organs other than lungs.

CollPlant may also obtain royalties on sales of commercialised products that are covered by patents licensed along with reimbursement for certain costs.