Collie may be famous for coal, but now the small country town is turning to collagen with a government – funded expansion of a medical collagen plant.
The State Government have issued Holista Colltech with more than $500,000 from the Collie Futures Industry Development Fund.
Holista Colltech have been producing collagen for cosmetics for years, but plan to produce higher medical grade collagen that can be used to heal burns, reconstruct bones and assist with other dental and surgical needs.
Managing Director and CEO of Holista Colltech pharmacist Dr Rajen Manicka says while there has been a push to produce medical collagen in Collie for some time, the expansion will help enable the next step in a biotech breakthrough.
“We hold the world’s only patent for sheep collagen made from the skins of Australian sheep… There has been for some time the untapped opportunity in medical-grade collagen,” Dr Manicka said.
Dr Manicka says for this to happen it will require additional capital expenditure.
Collie-Preston MLA Jodie Hans says the contribution will be significant and allow the small town to become a player on a global front.
“[The] expansion will help Collie and shows the State is delivering on their commitment to support regional towns,” she said.
Murdoch University molecular biologist Dr David Berryman says Australia’s healthy sheep flocks will assist in producing medical grade collagen in Collie.
“Australia is in a good position as we don’t have many of the diseases that exist within sheep in other parts of the world, which make’s Collie the perfect place,” he says.
“The hides themselves are a byproduct of meat production… do you throw the hides in the ground or maximise the benefits on them, that’s the question you have to ask,” he says.
Dr Berryman says that while Collagen being produced in Collie is the future, it’s unlikely to reach the heights of coal mining.
“Collie definitely suits the collagen production but it’s not going to replace coal…it is part of the solution and there’s huge potential for many different industries and the diversification is important,” he said.