Patients suffering from skin defects are normally treated by way of an autograft, as explained by the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) in a press release. “However, this method is now outdated and leaves behind disfiguring scars that can also impair mobility”, the press release explains further. For this reason, CSEM is working with Cutiss AG, a start-up based in the Greater Zurich Area, to develop an alternative solution as part of the denovoCast project. The Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse has provided financial backing for the product in the amount of 826,000 francs.
“We are proud to receive this support from the Swiss government”, comments Daniela Marino, Co-Founder and CEO of Cutiss. “We have a great chance to develop and bring to market the next excellent Swiss-made innovation product”.
The aim of this project is to develop a machine that can manufacture personalized, permanent, bio-engineered skin grafts in automated fashion. For the moment, Cutiss AG still produces the grafts manually. To this end, the company uses a stamp-sized biopsy of the patient’s own healthy skin, from which the skin graft can be developed in the required size. This is a highly complex process. It is precisely this step which the machine is intended to handle in future. Cutiss and CSEM are working together on its development for 18 months, so that an “innovative approach for automating the skin engineering process while preserving the quality of the tissue” can be developed. This joint-project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program in addition to the grant from Innosuisse.
CSEM is contributing its experience in the areas of automation and bio-engineering to the joint-project. This should produce a machine that requires minimal user interaction. The machine is intended to be set-up in a manufacturing facility, where the skin grafts can be produced in automated fashion. The first machine will be located in Zurich. Cutiss AG’s plan is to operate globally from its base in Switzerland, Marino explains.
The start-up is a spin-off affiliated with the University of Zurich (UZH) and currently employs a total of 19 staff. It has already won several awards. CSEM explained in the press release that, since being founded in 2017, Cutiss AG has received more than 17 million francs in funding.