Aroa Biosurgery has posted a "modest" maiden profit for its 2019 year on revenue that increased 118 per cent to $24.2m.

It was the first time the 10-year-old Auckland maker of a wound care product - a kind of artificial skin or "bioscaffold" that helps surgeons deal with serious tissue injuries - had got into the black.

Chief executive Brian Ward would not give exact figures for the privately-held company, but said the profit was in "the single-digit millions."

Ward said the company would likely shoot for a capital raise in the order of "tens of millions" within the next 12 months to raise funds to build out its commercial operation in the US. It might go for another private equity raise, but an IPO is also on the table. If the company does list, Ward said his preference was for the ASX over the NZX.


Aroa's current share register includes a who's who of the New Zealand venture capital scene including Phil McCaw, Sir Stephen Tindall, Movac and NZVIF.

The revenue surge was no surprise to investors. Last year, Ward predicted the surge - the key catalyst being his company regaining full control of its signature product.

Between 2011 and 2014, US healthcare company Hollister bought global distribution and marketing rights to Aroa's Endoform wound care solution.

Last year, Aroa bought back control. Ward would not but a value on the deal, but did allow that his company had to pay "considerably more" to buy back marketing rights.

Skin in the game: Aroa Biosurgery chief executive and major shareholder Brian Ward. Photo / Supplied
Skin in the game: Aroa Biosurgery chief executive and major shareholder Brian Ward. Photo / Supplied

Endoform Dermal Template was launched in the United States in 2013 for the treatment of acute and chronic wounds after obtaining US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) clearance.

Since then, Hollister has established Endoform as a leading product for treating diabetic and venous ulcers and it has been used in more than 2.5 million treatments.

Ward says there are now 110 people working on Endoform's research and development and manufacturing effort.

The wound-care solution was developed in partnership with a US company Tela Bio.


Ward said Endoform attracted a patient's cells, helping to heal a surface or internal wound. Over time, the Enfoform "bioscaffold" was completely replaced by the patient's own cells.

Last year, as the same time it bought back marketing rights, Aroa teamed with a second US company, Hydrofera, to form a joint venture called Appulse for marketing to North America. The joint-venture recently opened hired five more people as it opened an office in San Diego. The JV's sales staff now number 30.

Ward says the two companies have complementary products.

Aroa has also recently gained regulatory approval in Europe and is looking to expand into that market, plus Asia.

"Our products have now been used in well over five million applications in the U.S. for complex wounds and soft tissue surgery. With a growing weight of supporting clinical evidence, we are very well placed to scale up in what is globally a $5 billion per annum, addressable market," he says.

Aroa is beginning to pursue incremental growth from outside the United States. In the last year alone, the company has seen rapid growth off a low base in Germany, Austria, Thailand, Canada, Jordan, India and South America, and has further distribution agreements in the pipeline, the CEO says.