Regenerative Medicine: Entering the fourth generation of tissue engineering
An Interview with Hicham Youssoufi Alaoui MBA, CFA Chief Executive Officer of CeiROx Life SciencesHicham is a seasoned business executive with over two decades of institutional investment, business transformation and development, as well as entrepreneurship experience in the biotech and financial industries. He has latterly held senior management positions, developing business concepts across various asset classes, markets and geographies. He has a mixture of technical skills and practice merging theory & application, pragmatically resolving the dynamics of diverse variables, adapting business, financial, as well as behavioural models to frontier applications. He is adept in developing a comprehensive perspective of business modeling, investment decisions and transaction negotiation in the financial, pharma-biotech, and technology industries.
Earned a Boston University MBA, alumnus of the International Management Programme at Sanyo in Kobe (Japan), undertook computer science & modeling training at Harvard University, Hicham is a CFA Charterholder. He is also certified by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for corporate governance and by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). He speaks five languages, and has authored and co-authored research documents in his quest to connect financial theory to the real economy.
Can you detail CeiROx Life Sciences’ current market position?
CeiROx Life Sciences is the pioneer of tissue engineering and the forerunner of regenerative medicine. Through 20 years of research and development, we accumulate a long history in our field. Indeed, we are unique in combining a continuous development with a wide variety of applications that our technology platform has achieved.
Our leadership can also be displayed through our target market, which is made of a world population with an unmet medical need. Indeed, our goal is to serve a population with a higher life expectancy and a more active life participation across all ages. The current possible alternatives do not satisfy these two growing characteristics in the world population. In addition, they address only specific segments while they are not relevant for others. Our technology platform fills in these gaps with pertinent and sustainable solutions.
What is regenerative medicine?
Regenerative medicine emerged as a concept in the mid-1990s, having started being mentioned in research papers. It evolved to an actual medical application at the start of the 21st century. Both from scientific and business-model perspectives, regenerative medicine is still considered as a young field. It is yet to develop its own comprehensive framework as a field of research, of medicine, and of biotechnology.
However, I would like to step back a bit here. At CeiROx Life Sciences we observed early that it is possible to leverage the human natural endowment to regenerate damaged tissue instead of replacing them. This led us to develop our strong conviction and has become the premise of all our efforts to invest as pioneers in this field.
The very basic fundamentals of regenerative medicine reside in its interdisciplinary approach to solving problems. In addressing a specific pathology from a medical perspective, the engine of this approach is the human cell. The power of the latter is that it can grow and differentiate itself into a specific tissue or even organ; hence the importance of cross-disciplinary approach of science, medicine, and bio-engineering.
Likewise, in addressing a specific pathology from an economical perspective, a cross-disciplinary approach is needed. Here, the engine is the value proposition to all stakeholders. In today’s complex healthcare system, there is a multitude of interests that sometimes act in a competing manner. The patient needs to be served with sustainable solutions; the reimbursement funds seek higher cost-saving to the system; the governments promote abler and more active population; while investors seek good returns. Our approach at CeiROx Life Sciences to regenerative medicine has allowed us to develop a new paradigm that reconciles all these facets both from clinical and economic perspectives.
What are the benefits of tissue regeneration?
As mentioned before, the choice for patients and healthcare professionals usually is either replacing a tissue or trying to regenerate it. In between, there is a gradual loss of functionality, performance and quality of life. Unless a tissue is regenerated in good quality and consistent manner, a real sustainable recovery of functionality, performance, and good quality of life cannot be achieved. When we consider the current demographic trends made of populations with higher life expectancy, the benefits of tissue regeneration become even more relevant. Indeed, such method becomes a powerful tool to satisfy all constraints related to ageing, productivity, and good quality of life.
Can you tell us more about your tissue engineering product?
At CeiROx Life Sciences, we pride ourselves for being pioneers in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. We have developed through 20 years of research leading to widespread applications: from skin to bone regeneration. Today, we are focusing on one of the most complex medical problem with a highly unmet need: cartilage in synovial joints. The latter once destroyed, through traumatic or degenerative defect, cannot be naturally replaced by the body’s own healing system as cartilage is made of tissue that has no blood circulation. The traditional available methods are mostly symptomatic in their impact. Our solutions come to rather treat the underlying defect.
In fact, building on the assumption of our model, we work to provide mechanisms that enhance the regeneration of cartilage in a natural manner. We achieve this through concepts that bring forward cells as cornerstone solutions with mechanisms that offer optimal cell distribution along with mechanical and shape stability.
Furthermore, from an ethical standpoint, we do not use animal origins as a recourse in our process of innovation. Indeed, the premise of our scientific and business approach is to provide sustainable solutions through ethically accepted methods.
How has the development of the fourth generation tissue engineering product continued to build upon the success of the previous generations?
The premise of our corporate and product development strategy at CeiROx Life Sciences is to provide new solutions or improve our own ones with more user-friendly answers from medical, regulatory, and business perspectives. This was displayed with the development of the fourth generation tissue engineering product. Indeed, we have observed drawbacks in previous generation products in terms of complex procedures, cost intensive cell culture and clinical treatment, and burdensome regulatory framework (ATMP classified).
This led us to develop a new solution through a smart scaffold that allows us to overcome these drawbacks and adapt to market constraints. As a result, we have achieved bringing forward a fourth generation product that offers user-friendliness to the healthcare professional through minimally invasive approach; to the patient through sustainable impact; to the public authorities through significant cost-saving to the system; and to investors through palpable scaling opportunities.
What differentiates CeiROx Life Sciences from its competitors?
We are renowned as being a distinctive company built on its unique intrinsic “DNA” and developed at the forefront of science with sound business acumen. Building on this core identity, we stand out from competition by:
- Creating new medicinal paradigms promoting better quality of life for the world population across all ages;
- Extending the applications of our new medical paradigm leveraging the human natural endowment in order to provide sustainable solutions;
- Developing integrated business processes around a real-life and patient-driven approach that provides the basis for a sustainable business strategy. This entails connecting academia and innovation centres to the displayed limits of current solutions.
How difficult is it to overcome regulatory requirements when entering new markets?
Satisfying regulatory requirements is one way for us to de-risk our business thesis. We have successfully achieved the CE mark for our product chondrotissue®. This is a major milestone for us, and it presents also a unique opportunity to democratise access to our solutions. Building on this landmark, we seek to extend accessibility to our product by leveraging our CE approval to other countries that accept it. We also seek to capitalise on our accumulated knowledge and data to advance our process with the U.S. FDA. Satisfying our regulatory requirements is also an exercise for us that validates our assumptions and proves our relevance to multiple markets and population segments.
What are your main goals for the future?
We at CeiROx Life Sciences, c.k.a BioTissue, are in the midst of our transformational moment. The latter consists of implementing a transition from a lab focused company to a market oriented one with large scale expansion and worldwide growth. Indeed, after having built a solid scientific thesis, today’s goal is to enact a business proposition around a comprehensive economic model in order to serve the world’s patients and healthcare professionals.
This transformation to inaugurate growth can be articulated around three pillars: expanding production capacity, building market penetration, and leveraging our regulatory strategy worldwide. In the long run, we aim to build a unique and integrated biotechnology and pharmaceutical company capable to address the long term needs of the world population for a better and more active life.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The Innovation & Excellence Award 2020 comes as a gratifying new landmark that confirms our aptitude to secure the highest possible outcome for sustainable impact on the patient’s health and on the company’s business model. This is achieved in a symbiotic articulation of the underlying paradigms that we are bringing forward, the strategic development framework that directs our efforts, and along with its associated execution plan. Indeed, capitalising on our accumulated knowledge, we are introducing a new growth strategy that offers filling solutions as to the drawbacks of the previous stage of development. I thank you for your recognition, and I appreciate your precious support in our journey of transformation and growth.