By Thomas Lee
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota– Miromatrix Inc. has one official employee, zero money, and nothing yet to develop, never mind sell. But make no mistake: Everyone wants a piece of it.
ProChon Biotech Ltd. closed a $3.95 million convertible bridge loan it plans to use to fund ongoing clinical trials and the manufacture of a key element of its BioCart knee repair system.
The Woburn, Mass.-based company, which is developing a system to repair damaged cartilage, said the loan came from prior backers ProChon Holdings B.V. and the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation. ProChon’s BioCart system uses a proprietary fibroblast growth factor technology to help regenerate damaged cartilage in the knee.
Thirteen years ago Greg Altman, president and CEO of Serica Technologies Inc., blew out his knee playing football. After reconstructive surgery on his ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, the former All-American at Tufts University found the rehabilitation process so challenging that he set out to develop an alternative.
Joining what is quickly becoming a mini-stampede toward the public markets, a suburban Philadelphia biotech unveiled plans for an initial public offering of stock.
The company, Tengion Inc. of East Norriton, Pa., is working to commercialize a process that coaxes the body into producing its own replacement organs. Early testing has demonstrated some success rebuilding bladder tissue in children with spina bifida and Tengion officials are now hoping that those encouraging results will attract sufficient market support to finance additional clinical trials.
ProChon Biotech Ltd. expanded a clinical trial of its Biocart knee cartilage regeneration system from one medical center to 10, a move that CEO Patrick O’Donnell told MassDevice puts ProChon on track to bring the technology to market in the U.S. and the European Union in 2014.
O’Donnell, who heads up a new management team that took over in January, said the expansion will also help raise the profile of a company that’s largely flown under the radar until now.
From snip, snip to step, step in only a few months.
The Westport, Conn.-based tissue regeneration company said the Dermagraft is designed to help restore damaged tissue and support the body’s natural healing process. The Food & Drug Administration already cleared the product to treat diabetic foot ulcers; ABH said more than 1,000 wound care and outpatient clinics in the U.S. use it.
Cardium Therapeutics posted third-quarter sales of $236,000 for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with no sales during the same period last year, and swung from a $6.2 million net loss during Q3 2008 to net income of $4.9 million:
Osteotech Inc. posted third-quarter sales of $23 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, down 4.6 percent compared with $24.1 million during the same period last year. Net losses for the quarter were $1.9 million, compared with net income of $58,000 during Q3 2008:
2009 Guidance Updated
Lonza will make Woburn, Mass.-based ProChon’s proprietary fibroblast growth factor variant at its Hopkinton, Mass., plant. The BioCart system, which cultures a healthy sample of knee cartilage and implants it back into the damaged knee, uses the FGF2v product to stimulate cartilage growth on an implant scaffold.
Biocell Center Corp., the European biotech firm that pioneered a method of preserving amniotic stem cells, opened its U.S. headquarters in Medford, Mass.
Biocell CEO Kate Torchilin said the company can preserve a portion of the sample taken during amniocentesis on pregnant women, which contains stem cells that can be used to treat illness or regenerate tissue.
Harvest Technologies Corp. won approval from the Food & Drug Administration for a 42-patient trial of its technique to use concentrated autologous bone marrow cells to treat patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafts.
The FDA’s investigational device exemption allows the Plymouth, Mass.-based firm to study whether its BMAC system can help re-grow dead or damaged heart tissue. The two phase feasibility trial will see a one patient group injected with the concentrated stem cells after CABG surgery and a control group treated with CABG alone.