After severe wounding, human skin fails to regenerate and physiologically heals by scar formation. Worldwide, millions of people suffer from severe skin defects or diseases requiring surgical interventions to restore skin function.
Existing therapies frequently leave these patients with permanent, painful, disfiguring, and debilitating scars. Scars may impair movement and growth, and often require several follow-up surgeries, intense homecare and psychosocial rehabilitation. Severe skin defects significantly affect quality of life in a long term, along with the economic burden for the health-care system. Human skin is composed of an outer epidermis, a dermis and a hypodermis. The components of the dermis control and regulate scarring. Today, standard of care consists in harvesting a thin layer of healthy patient’s skin, which contains the epidermis but only remnants of the dermis. Since sufficient dermis is missing, these grafts often develop into scars. Furthermore, in severe cases, where most of the skin has been destroyed (e.g. burns), the shortage of healthy skin represents a real clinical challenge.
In 2001 a team of the University-Children’s Hospital Zurich led by Professor Reichmann pursued the vision of bio-engineering personalized dermo-epidermal skin grafts, using patients’ own cells. One of the developed products, denovoSkin, is the result of fifteen years of research. A first-in-man safety study was completed with denovoSkin with very promising results. denovoSkin has obtained Orphan Drug Designation for a treatment of burns (by Swissmedic, EMA, and FDA). With the support of the regenerative medicine technology platform of Wyss Zurich the team will now proceed with product development, testing denovoSkin’s efficacy in pivotal phase II multicentric studies and prepare for market authorization in terms of regulatory and reimbursement activities.
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Tissue Biology Research Unit, University Children’s Hospital Zurich
University Children’s Hospital
Dutch Burn Center
University Hospital Zurich
University Hospital Birmingham
Voisin Life Science Consulting
Co-Project Leader and Clinical Trial Manager
Fabienne Hartmann-Fritsch joined Wyss Zurich in October 2016. She is responsible for the project leadership and the clinical trial management for the clinical trials with the personalized skin graft “denovoSkin”. In addition, she actively supports the GMP-production of the skin grafts. Fabienne received her MSc in Microbiology and Immunology from the ETH Zurich in 2008 and her PhD in Biology from the University of Zurich in 2013. During her postdoctoral studies at the Tissue Biology Research Unit of the University Children’s Hospital Zurich she specialized on GMP-production of human skin grafts as well as on clinical trial management and regulatory affairs.
Co-Project Leader and Business Developer
Daniela Marino is responsible for the development of personalized skin grafts for the treatment of skin defects. Daniela received her MSc in Biotechnologies from the University of Milan in 2005 and her PhD from the Institute of Pharmacological Sciences of ETH Zurich in 2009. During her postdoctoral studies at the Tissue Biology Research Unit in Zurich, she specialized in tissue engineering of skin, and also gained expertise in project management, product development, clinical trials and regulatory affairs. She is a co-founder of the UZH spin-off CUTISS AG, awarded with the Venture Best Business Plan prize in 2015. Her professional mission is to finally provide a real solution to patients suffering from skin defects.
GMP Production Officer
Laura Bojsen-Møller joined the denovoSkin project at Wyss Zurich in January 2020. In her role as GMP Production Officer, she supports the Production team in the manufacturing of autologous skin grafts and the implementation of changes from the R&D phase to the production process. Laura received her Master’s degree in Biotechnology from the Technical University of Denmark in 2017 and gained experience with GMP manufacturing while working at the bioscience company Chr. Hansen.
GMP Production Officer
Selina Budinjas joined Wyss Zurich in October 2019 as GMP Production Officer for the denovoSkin project. She supports the production team in the manufacturing of autologous skin grafts for the treatment of skin defects. Selina finished her apprenticeship as a biotechnological technician at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart. In a company for molecular biotechnologies she gained expertise in a GMP-environment on production processes, method validations and in the development of diagnostic products. Prior to joining Wyss Zurich, Selina acquired extensive knowledge in tissue engineering of skin at the Tissue Biology Research Unit of the University Children’s Hospital Zurich.
Daniele De Nardo
Production Team Leader
Daniele De Nardo holds a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from ETH with a major in Tissue Engineering (2018). During his Master’s studies he worked on the generation and refinement of a high cell density biomaterial for detrusor muscle bioengineering in the field of urology.
In October 2018, Daniele joined the R&D department of CUTISS AG as a process developer on the denovoSkin project, focusing on process improvements and denovoSkin characterization.
From 01.01.2020, Daniele was appointed Production Team Leader P007 with the task of leading manufacturing during the current clinical trial and implementing the process improvements from the R&D into the manufacturing process.
GMP Manufacturing Associate
Tino Jucker holds an MSc in Health Sciences and Technology from ETH Zürich with a major in medical technology. Previously, he worked as a Development Engineer for Straumann AG. Furthermore, Tino performed research in the field of tissue engineering at KU Leuven, as well as during his Master thesis at the AO Research Institute in the polymer lab, and moreover, in his position as a research assistant in the field of tendon biomechanics at the University Hospital Balgrist.
He joined CUTISS AG in July 2020 as a GMP Production Officer and is proud to support the denovoSkin project at Wyss Zurich since November 2020. There, he is working on the production of autologous skin grafts for the treatment of skin defects.
GMP Production Officer
Arina Löw joined Wyss Zurich and the denovoSkin project in January 2018. In her role as GMP Production Officer, she is responsible for the GMP-conform manufacturing of autologous skin-grafts and assists with the GCP documentation of the clinical studies. Arina received her MSc in Health Sciences and Technology with a major in Molecular Health Sciences from the ETH Zurich in 2017 and gained experience in the manufacturing process of skin substitutes during her master thesis at the Tissue Biology Research Unit of the Children’s Hospital Zurich.
GMP Production Officer
Nathalie Moro joined Wyss Zurich in November 2020 as a GMP Production Officer for the denovoSkin project. She supports the production team in the manufacturing of autologous skin grafts for the treatment of skin defects. Nathalie received her master’s degree in Health Science and Technology with a major in Molecular Health Sciences from the ETH Zurich in 2020. During her studies, she gained experience in skin research while working in the Biointerfaces Lab at Empa St.Gallen as well as during her master thesis in the Macromolecular Engineering Lab at ETH Zurich.