June 11, 2018

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Durham’s Humacyte lands $150M from Fresenius Medical Care


[Originally posted by BizJournals— June 11, 2018]

 

Durham-based Humacyte has landed a $150 million equity investment from Fresenius Medical Care.

According to the companies, the investment will see Fresenius (NYSE: FMS) take a 19 percent fully diluted ownership stake in Humacyte and obtain the exclusive global rights to commercialize Humacyte’s human acellular vessel Humacyl upon approval by certain health authorities.

“Humacyte is at this true inflection point in the development of our blood vessel,” says Humacyte Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jeff Lawson. Securing a partnership “with one of the most important, large corporations in this space [is critically important for] where we are right now as we plan the next 18 to 24 months toward commercialization,” he says.

A phase 3 trial of Humacyl in patients with end-stage renal disease has completed enrollment with data expected later this year. The product has the potential to become part of a person’s living tissue as well as last longer and produce fewer complications than synthetic vessels.

Currently located on Kit Creek Road, Humacyte is continuing to build out new space on Highway 54 that will ultimately house laboratory and office space as well as manufacturing capabilities.

Dr. Frank Maddux, chief medical officer and executive vice president of clinical and scientific affairs at Fresenius Medical Care, says he was first introduced to the team at Humacyte about six years ago when the company was beginning phase 1 and 2 trials.

“So, we as a company, continued to have conversations and interactions with Humacyte as they evolved into their phase 3 program,” he says. Partnership potential was talked about for a number of years, but firmed up in the middle of last year.

“As we’ve moved our care business toward value-based care plans,” he says, “one persistent, unmet medical need” involves vascular care. There’s an opportunity “to take scientific innovation and apply it in practical care.”

“We seek out these major scientific innovations,” he says.

And Humacyte’s is progressing toward commercialization. It could see a clinical launch in early 2020, says Lawson.

“With the Fresenius investment, it gives us more ability to maintain that timeline,” he says, adding that it also allows Humacyte to think on a broader scale when it comes to other applications of vessels.

Some other areas currently under research and development include use in peripheral artery disease and vascular trauma.

Over the last 24 months, Humacyte has expanded its headcount from 35 employees to about 110 employees, notes Lawson. Fresenius Medical Care – which saw revenues of roughly $17.8 billion last year – currently employs about 114,000 people companywide.

The transaction with Humacyte is slated to close next month.