This week, CollPlant and United Therapeutics Corporation announced that they have entered into a licensing, development, and commercialization agreement together for the purposes of 3D bioprinted lung transplants. This partnership will combine United Therapeutics’ organ manufacturing and regenerative medicine capabilities with CollPlant’s BioInk and proprietary recombinant human collagen (rhCollagen) technology.
“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,” said CollPlant CEO Yehiel Tal. “As a pioneer in the field, United Therapeutics is the perfect partner for us. 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. We are honored to have established this important collaboration with United Therapeutics and look forward to working together to bring lifesaving organs to humanity.”
Under the terms of the agreement for 3D bioprinting solid-organ scaffolds for human transplants, which United Therapeutics is more than familiar with, CollPlant granted an exclusive license for its technology to United Therapeutics, through its wholly owned organ manufacturing and transplantation-focused subsidiary Lung Biotechnology PBC, for the production and use of its rhCollagen-based BioInk for 3D bioprinted lung transplants. The subsidiary itself is the first public benefit corporation subsidiary of a public biotechnology or pharmaceutical company and works to address the national shortage of transplantable lungs and other organs.
Over the next few years, CollPlant will manufacture and supply BioInk in order to meet the development process demand. In addition, it will provide technical support to United Therapeutics while it sets up a facility in the US to manufacture both BioInk and rhCollagen.
Martine Rothblatt, PhD, Chairman and CEO of United Therapeutics, said, “We are excited to work with CollPlant’s extraordinary Israeli technology to transform the tobacco plant that is so associated with lung disease into a collagen-expressing plant that will be essential to the production of an unlimited number of transplantable lungs.”
The agreement, in addition to its focus on lung manufacturing, will also grant United Therapeutics an option, in its sole discretion, to expand the field of its CollPlant license in order to add up to three additional organs.
According to the agreement’s financial terms, once it’s effective, CollPlant will receive an initial upfront payment of $5 million. Then, once certain operational and regulatory milestones related to the development of 3D bioprinted lungs are reached, the company will receive milestone payments of up to $15 million.
Option exercise payments of up to $9 million are also provided for in the licensing agreement, as well as additional developmental milestone payments of up to $15 million…if United Therapeutics decides to develop additional manufactured organs using CollPlant’s technology, that is. Additionally, CollPlant will also be entitled to receive reimbursement for certain costs, as well as royalties on sales of commercialized products that are covered by patents licensed by the company itself.
The effectiveness of the licensing agreement between CollPlant and United Therapeutics is subject to a few closing conditions, which include receipt of approval by the Israel Innovation Authority, which was formerly the Office of Chief Scientist.
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