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Scarless Healing Products at the Heart of Local Firms’ Partnership

It’s a beautiful partnership for two privately held San Diego biotech companies: Suneva Medical Inc., which makes and sells the long-lasting dermal filler sold as Artefill, has purchased exclusive licensing rights to a trio of regenerative skin care products developed by regenerative medicine company Histogen Inc., the businesses announced recently.

Suneva Medical will manufacture the ReGenica-branded product line and sell it to aesthetic medical practitioners throughout the U.S., said the company’s chairman and CEO, Nicholas Teti.

“We wanted something that would complement Artefill and fit into the same customer space,” Teti said. “This was an excellent fit. Doctors today really need to distinguish themselves from the competition, and that’s what these products will do.”

The so-called “cosmeceutical” products are geared to the plastic surgery, dermatology and cosmetics industries, but they’re unlike other products currently available, Teti said.

Histogen’s topical skin gels and creams contain human growth factors that reduce fine lines and help patients heal faster and without the scarring that can come from laser treatments, said Histogen CEO Gail Naughton.

To make the products, “We take young skin cells” that are discarded from circumcision surgeries “and we grow them under embryonic conditions,” Naughton said. “We’re really mimicking nature.”

The cells secrete a variety of growth factors that lead to rapid tissue generation and scarless healing, she said.

Histogen will receive an upfront payment and royalties on future sales of the products, as well as a cut of sales from any future product line extensions. Financial details about the deal and potential market size were not disclosed.

Suneva sells its products through a 12-person sales force that reaches out to a base of about 500 customers. “In the aesthetics business, that’s a very nice block of customers to market to,” Teti said.

Meanwhile, Histogen is working away on its lead product candidate, a hair regrowth therapy that’s also made from newborn cell secretions. The product just finished early-phase trials in Asia.

Naughton said the Hair Stimulating Complex is injected into the scalp to treat male-pattern baldness, boosting hair growth and thickness in 12 weeks and continuing hair growth for up to a year.

The company will be looking to partner with a pharmaceutical company to launch the product in Asia before seeking regulatory approval in the U.S., Naughton said.

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