All of our product candidates are based on our proprietary recombinant type I human collagen, rhCollagen, which is identical to the type I collagen produced by the human body. The graphic below illustrates the structural differences between rhCollagen produced with our proprietary plant based technology and currently marketed tissue derived collagens.
The key advantages of products using our rhCollagen, as compared to those using collagen derived from animals or human cadaveric tissue, include:
Better biofunctionality in tissue regeneration
Our rhCollagen has superior biological function when compared to animal or human tissue derived collagen and has a number of useful physical characteristics, including thermal stability, or resistance to decomposition at high temperatures, and a pristine triple helix, according to data published in peer reviewed scientific publications. The triple helix structure of collagen is formed when two α 1 protein chains and one α 2 protein chain wind together along a common axis. In the formation of rhCollagen, this structure is achieved without modifications that can lead to defects in the triple helix structure, thereby leading to a pristine triple helix identical to the form found in nature. A pristine triple helix enables superior binding, which accelerates primary human cell proliferation. Collagen scaffolds of our rhCollagen support endothelial, fibroblast, and keratinocyte cell attachment and proliferation. In all cell types tested, cell proliferation was significantly better in scaffolds made of rhCollagen than in commercially available scaffolds made of bovine collagen. The accelerated cell proliferation achieved with our rhCollagen results in faster wound healing, less scarring, and higher quality tissue regeneration.
Improved safety and greater purity
Our pure rhCollagen does not induce an immunogenic response, whereas impurities carried over from the source of tissue derived collagen can lead to immune system rejection. In vitro studies performed under an academic collaboration have demonstrated that rhCollagen incubated with activated THP1 macrophages produces significantly lower levels of inflammatory cytokines compared with bovine collagen. This demonstrates that animal derived collagen can provoke a foreign body response not seen with rhCollagen, which delays healing and increases scarring. Further, with our rhCollagen, there are no potential side effects in the growth of tissue because there are no residues of growth Factors originated in the extracted tissue. In addition, with tissue derived collagen, there is a possibility that the animal or human from which the collagen was produced was infected with a virus, prion, or other pathogen. With our rhCollagen there is no risk of transmitting diseases and pathogens.
Since CollPlant’s rhCollagen is synthesized by five human genes in tobacco plants producing pure molecules that are repeatable and identical to type I human collagen, it is more homogenous than collagen derived from animal or human tissue sources. The high level of homogeneity of our rhCollagen allows the formulation of extremely high concentrations of soluble triple helix Type I collagen, up to 150-200mg/ml, which is at least 10 to 100 times higher than the concentration achieved with tissue derived collagen. The high concentration of homogeneous monomeric collagen is of particular importance where strong collagen fibers are needed for 3 D scaffolds. The homogeneity of our rhCollagen enables us to engineer consistent and reproducible products with a controlled degradation rate which can be optimized to the targeted indication. Achieving the same level of engineered performance would be difficult, if not impossible, with tissue derived collagen that varies from batch to batch.
Due to our ability to control the protein at the molecular level, it is possible to use our rhCollagen to produce products with unique physical features, as well as high repeatability, which is not possible with tissue derived collagen. As compared to tissue derived collagen, rhCollagen membranes have shown better thermal stability, improved tensile strength due to alignment of the collagen fibers, and higher levels of transparency. In addition, rhCollagen can be used to produce high concentration solutions of collagen at low viscosities. The unique properties of our rhCollagen make it an ideal building block for many products that we believe cannot currently be produced using tissue derived collagen, such as Bioinks for 3 D printing, artificial tendons and ligaments, and transparent ophthalmic products.