ACRO Aims at Organ Reconstruction for Multi-Billion-Dollar Business Opportunity – A Breakthrough in Old Technology

ACRO Aims at Organ Reconstruction for Multi-Billion-Dollar Business Opportunity – A Breakthrough in Old Technology

ACRO Biomedical's collagen ophthalmic matrix has been submitted for medical device certification in Taiwan. This artificial cornea product is expected to save patients from waiting in line for corneal donation, and it’s ACRO’s first step towards its ultimate goal, organ reconstruction.

Chairman Dr. DJ Hsieh led ACRO Biomedical to take the lead in applying supercritical fluid in the extraction of animal tissues.


ACRO Biomedical's core products revolve around the application of collagen. This year's submission of an artificial cornea product for medical device registration by the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration is particularly critical; this will be the tipping point for the company's future development.

The story starts with Chariman Dr. DJ Hsieh getting his doctorate in the United States and returning to Taiwan in 1994. He then did research and taught at Yang Ming University and Kaohsiung Medical University, and was later poached to a veterinary vaccine company, starting on the path of no return in the industry. Dr. DJ Hsieh had worked on whale shark collagen in Animal Technology Institute Taiwan, in 2009, he was appointed to take over the position of general manager of SunMax Biotechnology, a collagen manufacturer, at the critical moment. At that time, SunMax’s net value per share was only NT$2. During his tenure, Dr. DJ Hsieh handled the capital increase and opened up the market in mainland China, and SunMax was finally listed on the OTC market. Dr. DJ Hsieh has been inextricably linked with collagen ever since.

Before joining SunMax, Dr. DJ Hsieh also worked on Chinese herbal medicine extraction, using a process called "supercritical carbon dioxide fluid" to extract the required ingredients. In the past, when purifying collagen, the traditional method requires addition of chemical cross-linking agents in order to maintain collagen for a longer period of time, but this often results in allergic side effects. When Dr. Hsieh tried to find a better construction method, supercritical fluid technology came to his mind. However, SunMax did not express any support, so he founded ACRO Biomedical in 2014.


Applying Supercritical Fluid Technology in the Extraction of Animal Tissues

Dr. Hsieh explained that supercritical fluid is actually a very old chemical technology that has been around since 1822, but it was used for the extraction of essential oils and Chinese herbal medicines. "Extraction" is to extract the desired ingredients, while "purification" of collagen is to extract the unwanted ingredients. The two have the same purpose, and the supercritical fluid production process is simple, highly efficient, and relatively environmentally friendly and safe.

During the experiment, Dr. Hsieh made a new discovery: using supercritical fluid technology, not only can the original host cells and all allergens be removed, but the intact natural collagen scaffold structure can also be retained. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, accounting for 25 to 35% of the total protein. It is like a scaffolding structure, and cells grow on it to fill in the gaps. Traditional purifying methods may not be able to remove impurities, or may destroy the collagen structure. ACRO's proprietary technology can retain the natural scaffolding structure of collagen, allowing stem cells to find the correct position to attach, proliferate, and repair. With this platform technology, ACRO has developed many collagen medical device products for different medical fields including orthopedics, dentistry, wound care, etc., but these are just one of the business models. ACRO’s ultimate goal is to use the principle of collagen scaffolds on the repair and reconstruction of organs. The collagen ophthalmic matrix, also known as artificial cornea, was submitted for inspection and registration in Taiwan FDA this year, and it will be an important touchstone for taking the first step.

ACRO's artificial cornea is made from porcine eyeballs, which are decellularized and made into a corneal scaffold as a corneal substitute. According to estimates from the World Health Organization, more than 20 million people around the world are blind due to corneal damage. However, the supply of corneal donation are still insufficient in most countries. India and China are the target markets of ACRO Biomedical.

After the artificial cornea, ACRO also conducted kidney reconstruction experiments on rabbits and has submitted an article to the "Natural Medicine" medical journal.


ACRO Biomedical Receives Great Attention in Southeast Asia

Generally, collagen is extracted from mammals, fish, etc. After Dr. Hsieh thought of using the supercritical fluid process, his first step was to immediately apply for a patent. Currently, 56 patents have been obtained domestically and internationally, and more than 20 are under review. "We cover all patents on the application of supercritical fluids in mammals." Dr. Hsieh said.

At present, ACRO is actively seeking distributors in Southeast Asia and India. It is understood that ACRO's decellularized ADM Paste used in wound care has been tested by a medical center and shown to be effective in hair regeneration and has recently received great attention at TERMIS AP in Hong Kong. In addition, there are also Indian doctors who is trying out ACRO’s Collagen Matrix on treating glaucoma.

"ACRO is standing at a critical point in the field of regenerative medicine." Dr. Hsieh revealed that many cell therapy companies have approached him for cooperation, because the addition of collagen scaffold with cells or exosomes is indeed a plus. Organ reconstruction may be a long road, but it is worthwhile to accumulate experiences in regenerative medicine through these opportunities.


URL:ACRO Aims at Organ Reconstruction for Multi-Billion-Dollar Business Opportunity – A Breakthrough in Old Technology