One of Madison’s first biotech companies is downsizing following the announcement that its parent company will cease efforts to commercialize its signature invention, a lab-engineered skin patch designed to help burn victims heal.

Stratatech Corporation was founded in 2000 by University of Wisconsin-Madison pathologist Lynn Allen-Hoffmann to develop and bring to market a product called StrataGraft. The invention built on Allen-Hoffmann’s 1996 discovery of a line of skin cells called keratinocytes, extracted from foreskin tissue, which multiply without dying or developing tumors or viruses.

These “progenitor” cells, she found, could be used to make living tissue nearly identical to human skin, which could reduce or eliminate the need to cut healthy skin from burn patients to repair a severe burn. In one study, StrataGraft skin tissue completely closed the burn injuries on 27 of 28 patients after three months.

Click here to read the full article.