Derma Sciences (NASDAQ: DSCI) raised $19.7 million through the sale of 2.1 million shares at $9.25 in a follow-on underwritten by Piper Jaffray. Derma plans to begin Phase III testing next half of DSC127 for diabetic foot ulcers. The compound is an angiotensin analog. Derma also markets dressings for wounds and burns.
DSC127 is an analog of a naturally occurring peptide, Angiotensin. It has been shown to increase keratinocyte proliferation, increase extracellular matrix production, and increase vascularization. Additionally, histological examination has shown that DSC127 accelerated collagen deposition six-fold. All these help to accelerate dermal tissue repair. One potential method of action is the up-regulation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) at the site of injury. MSCs originate in the human embryo and are considered to be multipotent — a type of stem cell that has not yet adopted a specific cellular phenotype. Such cells have the ability to differentiate into various types of cells found within the human body, including fibroblasts, adipose cells, muscle cells, bone cells, and skin cells.
The patented amino acid peptide DSC127 optimizes the well published wound healing capabilities of Angiotensin while removing all blood pressure effects of the compound.
Extensive pre-clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of the compound in accelerating healing and reducing scar formation. Pre-clinical studies thus far have shown:
- Improved in-growth of host tissue into artificial skins
- Accelerated healing in full thickness skin excision wounds in rats and diabetic mice
- Accelerated healing in partial thickness thermal injuries in guinea pigs
- Accelerated healing in a random flap skin model in rats Improved scar reduction in rats
Phase 1 is completed and top line Phase 2 data appears to have been presented last fall. The next step will be pivotal (phase III) studies.