Nerve Graft Company Merges, Goes Public

AxoGen, an Alachua biomedical company that provides surgical implants that repair peripheral nerve damage, has merged with a Texas company, providing a $12.5 million cash infusion and allowing AxoGen to become publicly traded.

AxoGen merged with LecTec Corp. of Texarkana, Texas, which is relocating to the Progress Corporate Park in Alachua, where AxoGen is headquartered. LecTec says it was seeking a merger partner with whom to invest money it amassed from settling patent infringement lawsuits and licensing and selling rights to its hydrogel patch and hand sanitizer patch technologies.

The merged company is taking the name AxoGen Inc. and is trading on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under LecTec’s symbol LECT, but it has filed to change the symbol to AXGN, according to a news release.

“The millions that LecTec is investing in AxoGen will help expand clinical studies, marketing and sales of our products that repair peripheral nerve damage in the U.S. and internationally,” CEO Karen Zaderej says.

“AxoGen’s Avance Nerve Graft, based on technology developed at the University of Florida, is the first and we believe the only commercially available peripheral nerve allograft for bridging severed nerves,” Zaderej says.

Thousands of patients, including soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, have benefited from the nerve grafts.

AxoGen’s portfolio of products has been used in hundreds of hospitals in the past two years, Zaderej says. The company’s employment roster has doubled in the past year to more than 30.

The company recently presented a study of patients receiving its Avance Nerve Graft to the American Society of Surgery of the Hand. The study showed that 87 percent of the patients in the study group experienced meaningful recovery.

The company’s AxoGuard Nerve Protector is an implant that physically isolates and protects the nerve during the healing process after surgery.

In the merger, Zaderej will continue as CEO, while LecTec CEO and Chief Financial Officer Greg Freitag will become AxoGen’s CFO. Other officers include Vice President John Engels, Vice President of Sales Brad Hedger and Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance Mark Friedman.

AxoGen is the second company co-founded by Jamie Grooms to go public, and Grooms continues as AxoGen’s chairman. The first was Regeneration Technologies, now called RTI Biologics. RTI, which creates grafts of bone and tissue, is a major area employer.


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