By Amanda Collins
When you think of future technologies, your thoughts probably shift to the Silicon Valley, a well-known hub of technology. But it may be time to change your viewpoint. Deer Valley is now home to a leader in regenerative biology, Axolotl Biologix. The company’s mission is to harness medical technologies, specifically regenerative biology, to enable the body’s own cells and tissues to repair and regenerate. This leads to a greatly improved quality of life by encouraging the elimination of pain without surgery or dependence on highly addictive pain medications, such as opiates.
Axolotl Biologix is named after the axolotl, commonly referred to as a Mexican salamander. Actually an amphibian, the axolotl can regenerate nearly every part of its body, from limbs to spine, without any scarring. The name is apropos since Axolotl Biologix’s products repair and regenerate human tissue and cells through the use of amniotic-derived regenerative fluid. This fluid acts like a magnet, recruiting the body’s own stem cells to regenerate and repair damaged tissues.
In their Deer Valley cleanroom, Axolotl Biologix scientists process cells from screened placentas donated following elected C-sections. These cells release regenerative products in the form of growth factors and cytokines into a fluid during the manufacturing process to yield a regenerative fluid. The regenerative fluid is processed and placed in small vials to be shipped to the clinic. Following processing, the final product contains no actual stem cells. Once they receive the vials, medical professionals inject the solution directly into affected areas, delivering amazing regenerative and healing properties that enable patients to avoid surgery and long-term pain-treatment regimens.
Phillip Larson, Axolotl Biologix’s President, is a fifth-generation Arizonan and long-term resident of North Phoenix. One of eight children, Larson credits his close-knit family for instilling in him the value of education and helping others. When he launched the company, he sought to locate its headquarters here in Deer Valley. In considering the space they needed to grow, Larson realized the company would require office space for employees as well as warehouse area for a cleanroom, labs, manufacturing and shipping. Since his father’s civil engineering firm had been located near the Deer Valley Airport, Larson looked to this area first. Comparatively speaking, he could have chosen something near Scottsdale Airpark, but his investment would have been triple the cost of Deer Valley. Here, though, he was able to secure an amazing facility that is both affordable and well located for developing and transporting products. As an added perk, most employees are commuting opposite traffic patterns, making their drive much easier. Plus, after working for the airlines previously, Larson had jet fuel in his blood, making it hard for him to stray too far from the familiar.
Axolotl Biologix markets its products as solutions to aid in the repair and regeneration of damaged tissues. Physicians have reported benefits in patients suffering with chronic issues, including burns, wounds and severe diabetic neuropathies. As Larson points out, when a patient loses a limb through amputation, the pain and lifestyle change can lead to opiate addiction, depression and even death. He firmly believes that the company’s products can save lives by saving limbs. Extreme pain can be debilitating, and many patients want something that works immediately. For years, physicians have prescribed opiate-derived drugs to combat severe pain. Unfortunately, that has led to overdependence on medications such as OxyContin, Vicodin, codeine and morphine. Currently, the country is facing an epidemic as more and more people become addicted to opioids.
Axolotl Biologix seeks to change the trajectory of pain management by enabling physicians and their patients to forego opiates and eliminate pain through the use of regenerative biology. Whereas pain medication targets the symptoms, it doesn’t address the cause of the pain. That’s where these amniotic-derived fluids change the conversation. The company’s products not only assist with diminishing pain, but inflammation as well.
One patient had such severe diabetic neuropathy pain that he had scheduled elective amputation of his leg below the knee. Even opiates weren’t helping combat the pain. But by injecting amniotic-derived regenerative fluid directly into the tissue, the patient enjoyed more than a 60% reduction in pain. His leg was saved, and perhaps even his life.
Essentially, by using Axolotl Biologix’s products, patients are able to press a reset button on their tissue’s biochemistry; resulting in a whole-new world opening up to them.
Axolotl Biologix currently provides three amniotic-derived therapies, including two fluid products and one membrane product. AxoBioFluid®A is the first commercially available room-temperature regenerative fluid product designed to help patients heal faster. The fact that it is delivered at room temperature makes it unique; such fluids are typically shipped and stored frozen. Axolotl Biologix’s product can be shipped without the need for dry ice and can be stored without expensive freezers, reducing the overall cost, a savings that can be passed on to patients. Time is also saved since the fluid doesn’t need to be brought to room temperature for use; it’s already there. In addition, by using a product that is approximately 72 degrees rather than one that might be 40 degrees, the patient avoids receiving a cold, uncomfortable injection.
AxoBioFluid®A was developed under the guidance of the company’s Chief Science Officer, Robert Kellar, Ph.D. He is a highly respected biotechnology innovator with seventeen years of experience developing medical devices, including regenerative technologies. Dr. Kellar advances regenerative medicine through research, technology and clinical application. Since March 2017, Kellar and his team have launched two amniotic-derived fluid products, successfully passed the company’s first FDA inspection, established world-class scientific and medical advisory boards, published two papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals on the Axolotl Biologix technology and improved manufacturing efficiencies at the company’s Deer Valley plant.
Kellar’s career work in regenerative medicine has been shown to speed up the healing process for cardiovascular diseases, orthopedic injuries, diseased cells, skin wound care and more. For the patients who cannot risk surgery, such as the elderly, Axolotl Biologix’s products can make a world of difference in their lives. And that fact helps both Kellar and Larson sleep better at night.
Axolotl Biologix was named the 2018 most innovative regenerative medicine research company in the USA by Global Health & Pharma. But even with the apparent miracle cure Larson, Kellar and their team have tapped into, they’re not about to rest on their laurels. They work every day to improve Axolotl Biologix’s current product offering and make them better for today and tomorrow.
Currently, the company’s scientists are developing a next-generation technology that will encorporate a unique protein, elastin. Our bodies stop producing elastin around age twelve, and by seventy, more than half of it has been depleted in the body. A loss of elastin contributes to the pathology of aging, including wrinkles, brittle bones, cardiovascular disease and sore tendons and ligaments. Axolotl Biologix is focusing first on the elastin in the skin and then moving inward to other tissues and blood vessels. Because elastin can be used in any body tissue, Larson sees numerous applications, from cosmetics to burns and wounds. They plan to release this new product in the near future and see a vast market for it in the medical community.
Currently, Axolotl Biologix’s amniotic-derived regenerative fluid costs approximately $3,000 to $4,000 per injection and is not covered by insurance due to it being such a novel technology. However, when patients are able to eliminate pain and avoid the possibility of developing an opioid addiction, that price tag starts to feel pretty reasonable. It’s certainly less than the more drastic option of surgery and amputation that many who could have benefited from this science have previously chosen.
Learn more about Axolotl Biologix at axobio.com