Skin regeneration firm Avita Medical has won a contract in the US worth up to $US54 million to help build preparedness for a mass casualty scenario involving burn injuries.

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Under the five-year contract, the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will commit an initial $US16.9 million to support Avita’s trials in the US for the treatment of thermal burn injuries – which are aimed at securing approval from the US Food and Drug Administration – and procure more than 5,000 of Avita’s “ReCell” cell-harvesting devices.

There is further potential for Avita to receive another $US37 million to support additional clinical trials and supply up to 20,000 more ReCell devices.

Avita chief executive Adam Kelliher said the BARDA contract is a transformational opportunity for Avita.

“Securing this contract from a US federal agency is a momentous milestone,” Mr kelliher said on Wednesday.

“US authorities have conducted a detailed evaluation of our technology, and this contract further validates the opportunity afforded by our unique regenerative medicine.”

Shares in Avita climbed 1.2 cents, or 17.14 per cent, to 8.2 cents on Wednesday.

BARDA is a US federal agency assigned to ensure that the US is well prepared for public health emergencies.

The agency develops medical countermeasures to mitigate the medical consequences from potential chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear threats.

Avita’s ReCell technology allows clinicians to rapidly create “Regenerative Epithelial Suspension” (RES) which can be used to restart healing in unresponsive wounds, to repair burns using less donor skin, to restore pigmentation and improve the appearance of damaged skin.

RES comprises epithelial cells from the patient’s own skin, which have been multiplied in tissue culture in the laboratory.

The fact that RES can be created using only small skin samples significantly reduces the need for skin donor sites.

ReCell first gained prominence as a treatment for burns victims following the 2002 bombing in Bali, Indonesia.

It was also deployed in a more recent mass casualty event: the Taiwan waterpark disaster.

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