Advancements in human tissue and nerve repair helping Axogen grow in Vandalia

Vandalia site will anchor company’s growth as new ‘Avance’ nerve graft is pursued

A Florida biotechnology company has now made itself at home in its $55 million Vandalia processing center, pursuing what company leaders believe are advancements in human tissue and nerve repair.

“The entire project team is inside the new facility,” Todd Puckett, operations manager for the Axogen Corp. Industrial Park Drive site, said in a recent interview.

Axogen has about 65 employees in Vandalia and Dayton, its two Ohio locations. The company is also hailing new products and the anticipated results of clinical trials.

Employees have been at their desks in the building’s 20,000-square-feet of office space since about August and engineers have started much of their work, said Peter Mariani, executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Tampa, Fla.-based company.

Nearly four years ago, Axogen invested an initial $5 million into the 75,000-square-foot former home near the interchange of interstates 70 and 75, adding a second floor.

Axogen leaders believe they are pioneering a process for human tissue repair, allowing surgeons to implant tissue in patients who have suffered nerve fiber damage. Part of what is seen as the innovation here is nerve tissue becoming a graft that nerve fibers are able to repopulate, allowing new growth — and the crucial regaining of sensation and movement, the company has said.

Most recently, Axogen has been focused on anticipated topline data from a clinical trial designed to support a biologics license application for a product called “Avance.”

The Avance nerve graft is described as a biologically active off-the-shelf processed human nerve allograft intended for the surgical repair of “peripheral nerve discontinuities.”

Put plainly, the goal is to bridge gaps in a nerve after, for example, a power tool accident. Axogen’s work can allow a surgeon to “take an off-the-shelf solution,” which is considered a big deal in dealing with trauma, Mariani said.

Credit: BLC

Credit: BLC

“It’s an important piece of data that will help surgeons as they do nerve repair,” the CFO said of the trial.

Harvesting human tissue from deceased donors, the Vandalia center will process grafts, which can be used in anyone without being matched, Mariani said.

As the company grows, Vandalia is expected to be that growth’s anchor, Mariani said. He sees the site’s employment ceiling over the next three to five years at up to 250 employees.

He expects to hire more people later this year, transferring more tissue processing work to Vandalia in early 2023.

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