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Firm Gets Defense Deal for Skin Substitute

The Swiss biotechnology company Lonza Group Ltd. is announcing more than $18 million in U.S. defense funding to develop a skin substitute grown from the patient's own cells.

Spokeswoman Melanie Disa said Thursday that Lonza's Walkersville unit received a $1.5 million grant and a $16.9 million contract to develop and commercialize its PermaDerm product.

PermaDerm is aimed at both military and civilian burn victims with severe burns over at least 50 percent of their bodies.

Lonza recently licensed worldwide marketing rights to Regenicin (re-GEN'-ih-sin) Inc. of Little Falls, N.J., provided PermaDerm wins federal regulatory approval.

Disa says clinical trials should begin in early 2011 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and another site yet to be determined.

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