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University spin-out OrganOx has signed a five-year manufacturing contract with ITL Group for their portable, performance-critical medical device, metra, a normothermic perfusion system that operates by supplying a donated liver with oxygenated blood, anti-clotting drugs and assorted nutrients, while keeping the organ at a stable temperature (37°C).
metra has the potential to significantly reduce the number of livers that are discarded due to damage incurred by cold storage, or a lack of oxygen. It can preserve and maintain a donated liver for up to 24 hours between the point of retrieval and transplantation. This extended preservation time will increase the number and quality of livers available to transplant patients.
In a recent BBC article, Prof Kevin Harris, at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), commented, “it (normothermic perfusion) offers another way of preserving the liver and assessing whether livers which might have previously been considered unsuitable can be used safely. By using this procedure, more patients on the organ transplant waiting list could be offered a chance of a transplant and thereby potentially extending their lives.”
Darius Mirza, professor of transplant surgery at University Hospitals Birmingham, said the machine was a “game changer”.
“In the 30 years I’ve been involved with transplantation, there have been three or four events which have been game changers and I’m absolutely certain we are looking at a game changer that will change the way we practice organ storage and transplantation,” he said.
Liver perfusion is currently performed on the NHS in a small number of specialist’s centers in the UK.
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with OrganOx on this ground-breaking project. This agreement is yet another important milestone positioning metra as one of the most promising transplantation candidates in late-stage development. This collaboration marks the beginning of what I’m sure will be a very exciting journey for both ITL and OrganOx,” said Tom Cole, managing director of ITL.
Craig Marshall, CEO of OrganOx, commented, “This agreement is strategically important to OrganOx as we prepare penetrate the US market, I have a manufacturing background and I know the importance of working with the best partners in the supply chain. ITL is a great fit with OrganOx given their track record of successfully bringing medical devices to the market coupled with UK HQ with a presence in the US and in China.”