Start-Up Previews (09/2007)
A preview of the emerging health care companies profiled in the current issue of Start-Up. This month's profile group, "The Eyes Still Have It," features profiles of Alacrity Biosciences, Eyeon Therapeutics, Mobius Therapeutics and OcuCure Therapeutics. Plus these Start-Ups Across Health Care: CyberHeart, GlycoVaxyn, TheraCardia and Vicus Therapeutics.
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While no medical device start-up operates in a risk-free zone, CyberHeart is minimizing its risk by using core technology that is already proven in another therapeutic area, cancer. The start-up has licensed cardiac tissue ablation rights to Accuray Inc.'s CyberKnife robotic radiosurgery system, and intends to use it to develop a completely noninvasive approach for the large, unmet atrial fibrillation market.
Tubulin is attracting increasing attention as a potential target to halt angiogenesis in the eye as well as in tumors. OcuCure Therapeutics Inc. is one of several firms developing it to treat macular degeneration. If this approach proves to be as effective as anti-VEGF approaches like Lucentis, OcuCure could be positioned to win over a significant share of the market as its drug would be administered topically, not via injection in the eye.
Having focused largely on the drug component of drug-eluting stents, most companies developing the next wave of bioabsorbable stents are working with the same biopolymers. Theracardia, however, begins life with a portfolio of novel biopolymers that inherently have the potential to avoid inflammation in the body, are bioabsorbable and can be engineered to achieve specific biological effects. The company is validating its platform in a stent biocoating in preparation for developing its own improved bioabsorbable stent, one that, it hopes, will promote rapid endothelialization and reduce restenosis without incorporating a drug.