Derma Sciences Inc. is a specialty medical device and pharmaceutical company focusing on advanced wound care. The company today announced it has completed an agreement with healthcare product and life science company Comvita New Zealand Ltd. for the worldwide licensing rights for Derma Sciences’ MEDIHONEY wound and skin care products.

Comvita dominates worldwide honey production, controlling about 75 percent of global Leptospermum (manuka) honey production, and is the owner of key intellectual property and patents concerning the use of honey in medical dressings.

Derma Sciences currently has licensing rights for North and South America only – about one-third of the total market; however, the agreement will extend the market reach for MEDIHONEY, giving Derma Sciences the rights to the remaining 67 percent of the market.

“We are pleased to finalize the agreement which was delayed over a year due to the turmoil in the global financial markets. The agreement signals a major milestone for Comvita’s significant investments into the application of honey in medical applications. We have a great deal of confidence in Derma’s ability to exploit the considerable opportunity for MEDIHONEY® in the professional medical market–they are, after all, specialists in the field,” Comvita Chairman Neil Craig stated in the press release.

Per the agreement: Derma Sciences will obtain exclusive worldwide rights to manufacture and sell the full range of MEDIHONEY wound care; Derma Sciences will manufacture MEDIHONEY products for Comvita to sell to OTC customers; Comvita will supply medical-grade manuka honey to Derma Sciences; Derma Sciences will have all intellectual property rights to MEDIHONEY, including patents involving dressings made of 50 percent manuka honey; and finally, the agreement calls for a joint research and development agreement between Derma Sciences and Comvita.

Edward J. Quilty, chairman and CEO of Derma Sciences, noted the market importance of MEDIHONEY and its impact on the growth of the company.

“MEDIHONEY has been a major success for our company ever since our product launch in 2007. The dressing line enjoys tremendous clinical and nursing support in the wound care community, and is considered a top new dressing in its category. There are currently over 15 peer review articles and 25 clinical posters detailing its use,” Quilty stated. “We’ve added 10 direct sales reps and several manufacturers reps since we first acquired MEDIHONEY. As a result of the increase, MEDIHONEY revenue nearly doubled, from $0.97 million in the first nine months of 2008, to $1.90 million during the first nine months of 2009. Now that Derma has secured a long-term agreement, we plan to significantly increase the size of our sales force in 2010. … Derma Sciences plans to build its global strategy around the MEDIHONEY® brand. We firmly believe that this agreement will enable our company to significantly expand its international footprint.”