Science

Repairing painful joints: RMS Regrow to offer cartilage therapy using own cells

Aesha Datta New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018

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DCGI gives nod to procedure



If you, or any of your family members, suffer from painful joints, and have been recommended surgery, here’s some good news. A new therapy could help you continue with your life using your own cells to treat the problem.

A new cell therapy product, Chondron ACI (Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation), by Regenerative Medical Services (RMS) Regrow, has received a market authorisation approval from the Drug Controller General of India, the company’s Chief Executive Officer Yash Sanghavi told BusinessLine, adding that the company is the first in India and only the fourth globally to receive this approval.

The therapy, which has been available globally for years, would now be provided by RMS. Being the first to receive an approval from the drug controller would put the company in a position of advantage.

“We have data exclusivity for four years. We are in talks with a number of hospital chains to provide the treatment,” Satyen Sanghavi, Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Director of the company, said.

Satyen Sanghavi said the therapy involves a keyhole surgery into the patient’s knees to calculate the extent of damage to the cartilage, a small section of the cartilage is then harvested from the joint, and the cells cultured in a lab for about four weeks before being implanted into the damaged area.

“This is the only treatment for large defects and damages to the cartilage. It can help postpone the need for a replacement significantly and allow the patient to resume their normal routine in about three to six months,” he said.

The company aims to keep its therapy cost-effective and competitive compared with replacement surgeries. “If you see, the same treatment in the US offered by Carticel, costs about $20,000 (about ₹12.9 lakh). We will offer the same at ₹2 lakh, which is approximately the cost of a knee replacement,” Yash Sanghavi said.

Phased-growth

RMS Regrow has patented the therapy and could soon move to provide services in other countries. “We are targeting a phase-wise growth, starting in India. By the third year, we will look to cater to countries in the vicinity, such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh, on a franchise model,” Satyen Sanghavi said. RMS, which was started in 2009 has two arms — Babycell, which banks umbilical cord blood stemcell banking, and Regrow, which is now going to provide treatments for joints (Chondron ACI for knees and Ossron Autologous Osteoblast Implantation (ABI) for hip joints.

He said with the approval for Chondron ACI, Regrow is likely to capture 10 per cent of the joint repair, replacement and revision surgery market in India. Currently, it is estimated that about four to five lakh patients need such surgeries annually in India. “In five years we expect our turnover to be over ₹500 crore,” he added.

Regrow currently has no revenue stream since they were involved in research and development of the products up until now. Satyan Pharmaceuticals, headed by father Yash, was funding Regrow until now.

Yash Sanghavi said: “We spent over ₹18-19 crore in setting up the labs. Besides that, considering all the working capital and other expenses, approximately ₹70 crore has been invested in R&D.”

Published on April 14, 2017

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