[ Skip to main content ]

AROA — using agricultural byproducts to heal complex wounds

New Zealand Tech Stories

5 December 2023

careers home

Healthtech pioneer AROA is finding the value in agricultural waste.

Around 26 million sheep graze the hilly landscapes of New Zealand, with our geographic remoteness naturally limiting agricultural disease. Their wool becomes clothes, their meat fills bellies, and their milk is curdled into cheese. It’s little wonder then that this versatility has made sheep the country’s second-largest goods exporter, alongside beef.

With such colossal consumption, byproducts are a given. An Auckland-based biotech company is capitalising on this, turning the forestomach of sheep into an advanced material that helps heal complex wounds and soft tissue reconstruction in humans.


Founded in 2008, AROA is the brainchild of veterinary surgeon Dr. Brian Ward. Driven by the power he saw in regenerative medicine, he immersed himself in studying how sheep tissue could help humans. He discovered that a scaffold derived from a specific layer of tissue in sheep could encourage cells to rapidly migrate into wounded spaces and build new tissue.


Developing an extracellular matrix biomaterial

The core technology, AROA ECM™, is a proprietary extracellular matrix biomaterial which is the building block for AROA’s range of products. The sheep tissue is minimally processed, resulting in a bioscaffold technology that has the structure, composition and function of the extracellular matrix that is found in human soft tissue. Containing over 150 proteins known to be important in the healing process, the’ biologic scaffold’, as it’s called, is applied to wounds, and can accelerate healing.

In 2013, the company received FDA clearance for its first product, Endoform™ and launched in the United States market. AROA’s products are now used in a range of wound care and surgical procedures, including for trauma, limb, hernia, and breast reconstruction surgery.

Patients’ individual needs are front of mind at AROA. AROA ECM technology offers leading regenerative performance at a disruptive cost, compared to other biologic solutions. This enables more patients to access the benefits of regenerative healing.

Over 5.8 million AROA products have been used in treating patients worldwide to date. AROA has a history of revenue generation and growth and is focused on its mission to unlock regenerative healing for everybody.

The company’s focus on improving the rate and quality of healing also offers health systems potential savings in recovery times and complication rates. Aftercare is generally a hugely expensive overhead, particularly in the American market, where an overnight hospital stay can cost as much as USD 14,000.

While private investors, including technology investor MOVAC and investment firm Sparkbox, funded the original launch of AROA, the company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2020. AROA has experienced rapid growth, and now has a team of over 270 staff based both in the company’s Auckland head office, as well as a sales team in North America.

Visit AROA >


This article was first published on seetomorrowfirst.nz

Share this page:

Subscribe to the Techweek newsletter for updates straight to your inbox:

Recent news

Techweek24 Day 3: Highlights

23 May 2024

We had so many great events across the motu on day three!  Check out some highlights below.       Read the full post here >   

Building the world for everyone

23 May 2024

This essay was originally written by the wonderful team at Antistatic for the introduction to More Zeros and Ones: Digital Technology, Maintenance and Ethics in Aotearoa New Zealand, an anthology…

GenAI 1.0 is coming of age

23 May 2024

GenAI 1. 0 is coming of age. GenAI 1. 0 has seen remarkable adoption across the board, and equally impressive, if not more, has been the pace of evolution.