Advanced Tissue Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:ATIS) of La Jolla, Calif.,and Cell Genesys Inc. of Foster City, Calif., announced today thatthey have signed a collaborative agreement to explore thedevelopment of a universal full-thickness skin replacementproduct.

The research agreement involves evaluating ATS's dermaltissue engineering technology in universal epidermal skin cellsengineered by Cell Genesys' gene targeting technology.

Gene targeting allows precise and permanent activation orinactivation of specific genes in living cells.

The companies did not disclose the financial details of theagreement.

"This research truly looks to the future of tissuetransplantation by merging tissue engineering and geneticengineering technologies," said Gail Naughton, ATS' executivevice president and chief operating officer. This could lead todeveloping second-generation skin replacement products, sheadded.

A universal full-thickness skin replacement could eliminate theneed to harvest grafts of a patient's own skin; it could alsoexpedite treatment of patients with extensive burns or woundhealing problems.

And ready availability of a universal full-thickness skinreplacement could avoid the delays frequently associated withculturing a patient's own skin cells in the laboratory prior tografting.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.