Now I’m no surgeon, but I can guess that during surgery, there’s a lot of blood (actually, come to think of it, that’s part of the reason that I’m not an MD). Generally speaking, bleeding isn’t a good thing; Omrix’s (OMRI) biosurgical products and pipeline are designed to stop the bleeding (herein referred to by its clinical name, hemostasis).
Now how do you promote hemostasis in surgery? Well, the same way you do if you cut yourself when you’re shaving:
1. If it’s a small cut, you let the proteins in the blood form a clot (scab). Essentially fibrinogen, a protein in the blood stream, combines with another protein in the blood stream, thrombin, to form a clot. Omrix’s Evicel (marketed as Quixil outside the U.S.) is essentially purified fibrinogen. Since it’s purified from human plasma, it contains naturally occurring proteins as part of its biological active component [BAC], which help form a clot that sticks to the wound better. Omrix is also in phase 3 trials for purified thrombin, the other component of the clot, which results in a much slower hemostasis (preferred in some types of surgery).
2. If the cut is a little bigger or won’t stop on its own, you put a bandage on it. Omrix has designed a biodegradable patch that contains purified fibrinogen. The patch, which is in phase 1 clinical trials, is designed for high bleeding situations, like the emergency room, where the high flow/pressure from a wound rips a fibrinogen induced clot right off.
From my reading, it looks like it doesn’t have a patent on fibrinogen, although it may have a patent on its purification process. Since it's in a highly competitive field, it needs to give the doctors a reason to buy its brand over any others. Omrix’s main advantage is that it purifies fibrinogen out of human plasma while other competitors purify it out of cows, potentially causing the immune system to have to work overtime to fight off the perceived foreign infection.
It's also packaged the fibrinogen in an easy to use form that can be stored at 4 degrees Celsius (refrigerator) for extended periods of time, resulting in reduced waste of the product.
Omrix’s other competitive advantage in that it's good at purifying proteins out of human plasma. This same type of purification is used to create its passive imunotherapy product line, which I will talk about next time.
OMRI 1-yr chart: