The production of Collplant’s rhCollagen (recombinant human collagen) begins when seedlings of tobacco plants genetically engineered with five human genes essential for the production of collagen are distributed to qualified greenhouses across Israel, where they are grown to maturity, which takes about eight weeks. The tobacco leaves are then harvested and processed to an extract, which undergoes purification until the final rhCollagen product is produced. Cost effective production, the abundant supply of raw materials, and the resulting product, pristine human collagen, are the most important features of plant based production. We are advancing a new production process that will result in higher yields and labor cost reductions, assuring adequate supply as demand for rhCollagen increases.
Our rhCollagen has demonstrated superior biological function when compared to any tissue derived collagen, whether from animal or human tissues according to data published in peer reviewed scientific publications. Our rhCollagen can be fabricated in different forms, shapes, and viscosities including gels, pastes, sponges, sheets, membranes, fibers, and thin coats, all of which have been tested in vitro and in animal models and proven superior to tissue derived products. These different forms of our rhCollagen broaden the potential applications of our products. For example, collagen gels made of our rhCollagen are more homogenous and less viscous compared to tissue derived collagen, making the rhCollagen gels ideal for any injectable product. We have demonstrated that, due to its homogeneity, rhCollagen can produce fibers and membranes with high molecular order, meaning all the molecules are oriented in the same direction, which enables the formation of tissue repair products with distinctive physical properties, including improved tensile strength due to the alignment of the collagen fibers, higher levels of transparency, and the ability to achieve high concentrations of collagen at low viscosities. The unique properties of our rhCollagen make it an ideal building block for many products such as BioInks for 3 D printing, artificial tendons, and transparent ophthalmic products that we believe cannot currently be produced using tissue derived collagen.
We can produce our rhCollagen cost effectively and have access to an abundant supply of raw materials. Tobacco is a relatively easy plant to grow, and can be cultivated in a wide range of climates and soils. The tobacco plant is an extremely hardy plant, may be grown in very large volumes and its growth time to reach desired maturity is relatively short (about eight weeks). Under our current production technology, we are able to achieve a cost of goods that allows us to offer products at prices that are competitive with tissue derived collagen.