By Nuala Moran

BioWorld Correspondent

LONDON - The tissue engineering company Modex Therapeutics Ltd. raised Swiss francs 168 million (US$103 million) in its initial public offering on the Swiss New Market, in an offering of 435,000 shares that was more than 10 times oversubscribed. This values the company at approximately Swiss francs 250 million (US$153 million).

The company, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, will use the proceeds to complete clinical trials of EpiDex, its skin replacement therapy, and launch the product in Europe, Japan and the U.S. It also intends to accelerate development of the rest of its pipeline and license in other products.

EpiDex, for the treatment of chronic ulcers, is based on Modex's Outer Root Sheath technology. This involves extracting fast-growing cells from the root sheath of the patient's hair and using them to grow skin patches. The company is promoting this as a less-invasive alternative to surgical skin grafts.

Modex has two other platform technologies. The first is Encapsulated Cell Therapy, in which cell lines engineered to generate therapeutic proteins are encapsulated in a polymer and implanted in the patient. These transplanted "biorectors" continuously generate and deliver human therapeutic proteins.

The product is currently in Phase I safety trials with healthy volunteers, to test the implants. Modex has a number of collaborations with partners including Aventis, Novartis and Geron Corp. to use the system to deliver their proteins.

The third technology is Cell Growth Control, a system for stimulating the proliferation of human cells such as liver and kidney cells that cannot normally be grown in culture. Modex is currently applying this technology in an in-house project to grow pancreatic beta cells to form replacements cells for the treatment of Type I diabetes.

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