No hard sell needed

PERTH development fund ECAT has taken up its option to invest a further $1.5 million in bio-medical company Clinical Cell Culture.

The agreement, signed last year, gave ECAT, which is associated with basketball star Luc Longley, the option to further invest and take its stake from 17.8 per cent to 35 per cent.

Chief Investment Officer of C3 and ECAT director, Philip Rees, said ECAT was attracted to C3 as an investment option because its products were beyond the development stage.

“The technology was already available and generating revenue,” he said.

“If we put money into C3 we’d get a product today and potential products further down the pipeline.”

ECAT has a further option to own C3 outright from May 23, giving C3 a backdoor stock exchange listing. ECAT has until November 22 to invest a further $6.9 million, but would have to shed its current investments.

C3 develops skin replacement products for the treatment of burns, epidermal trauma, scarring, chronic wounds and cosmetic procedures. Its trademark products are CellSpray and the ReCell Kit, which is a kit for dermatologists and other specialists who are required to grow skin cells for small areas of burnt tissue in time as short as half an hour.

Mr Rees said ECAT would monitor the sales of C3’s Cell Spray and ReCell Kits and, if expectations were met, it would divest other investments to pull all its resources into C3.

“We could still hold investments but would lose the tax break. It makes sense to sell them and invest in C3. Most of our other investments are tradeable,” he said.

ECAT’s major investment besides C3 is Boron Molecular Pty Ltd, a pharmaceutical compound and technical service provider.

Scientific director and recent WA Business News 40under40 Award winner, Marie Stoner, said that, unless something major went wrong, C3’s expansion plans would continue.

“We’ve been able to take on three new clinical account managers to go into burns units in Melbourne and Sydney to educate them on our products,” she said.

“They have a nursing background but their focus is on sales.”

Ms Stoner said that, if ECAT injected more money it would penetrate international markets more aggressively, opening up the potential to build a laboratory in the United Kingdom.

“At the moment we want to consolidate our Australian operations and create more awareness in the burns units, in particular with our ReCell product,” she said

“We want to then roll it out internationally, perhaps get a joint partnership with a distribution company and take it (ReCell) to the US. We also want to expand in the UK where there has been strong interest.”

C3 will be taking part in the Australian Wound Management Conference held in Adelaide next month as part of its awareness raising strategy.

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