Omrix obtains FDA approval for fibrin sealant

Omrix, a Johnson & Johnson unit, will produce the sealant, Evarrest, in Israel.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) unit Omrix Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. has obtained US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its fibrin human sealant patch, one of Omrix's most interest products and the reason why Johnson and Johnson acquired it for $438 million in 2007.

The product, now called Evarrest, is based on Omrix's biological sealant for stopping problematic bleeding during surgery. "Unexpected and uncontrollable bleeding during surgery poses a significant challenge to surgeons, and in some surgical procedures can raise the patient's mortality rate to 20%," says Ethicon Biosurgery (the J&J division which includes Omrix) in its press release.

Omrix's biological sealant is currently used to stop bleeding during surgery or from wounds, but the Evarrest patch Evarrest is easier to use. To stop bleeding, the surgeon places the sealant over the wound and manually compresses it in place for three minutes. The sealant becomes part of the body, gradually degrading over several days or weeks.

The sealant is based on the production of clotting substances in human blood plasma. Ethicon Biosurgery says, "Clinical studies demonstrate that Evarrest is 98% effective in stopping bleeding and maintaining hemostasis compared to the current standard of care at 53%, potentially minimizing disruption to the surgical procedure."

The FDA approval is good news for Johnson & Johnson and for Israel's life sciences industry, and the company will produce Evarrest in Israel, at least over the next few years.

Johnson & Johnson unit Ethicon Inc., which is responsible for hemostasis and sealing solutions to which Omrix belongs, is also considering other options for producing Evarrest and other products later on. It is in talks with Swiss's Octapharma AG, founded by Omrix founder Robert Taub, for this purpose. Omrix was a spin-off of Octapharma, a producer of human plasma products.

In 2009, the State of Israel sued Omrix's founders and Johnson & Johnson for not paying royalties on the acquisition of the intellectual property of the inventor of Omrix's products, a doctor at Sheba Medical Center Tel Hashomer. Omrix and Johnson & Johnson say Omrix was responsible for most of the invention, or that which it received it from Octapharma. The case is still pending, and while it has not yet affected Ormix's thriving operations in Israel to date, it may affect them in the future.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on December 16, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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