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Start-Up Previews

Executive Summary

A preview of the emerging health care companies profiled in the current issue of Start-Up. This month's profile group, "Antibiotics Start-Ups," features profiles of Indel Therapeutics, MicuRx Pharmaceuticals and Trius Therapeutics. Plus these Start-Ups Across Health Care: DFine, NexeonMedSystems, SmartCells and Somnus Therapeutics.

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DFine Inc.

Spine specialists who perform vertebral augmentation procedures using bone cement can encounter leakage of the cement once it is injected into the fractured vertebral body. But a new technique using radiofrequency energy to activate proprietary bone cement so that it becomes highly viscous during delivery allows for more precise placement of the cement into the affected area. The StabiliT vertebral augmentation system from DFine is a minimally invasive solution for treating vertebral compression fractures. It is designed to provide physicians with the peace of mind that the cement will remain exactly where it is injected, thus optimizing patients' postoperative outcomes. Furthermore, the product may provide height elevation of the collapsed vertebrae.

Nexeon MedSystems Inc.

A new coronary stent made of cobalt alloy and coated with a thin layer of protein may provide a welcome alternative to traditional bare-metal or drug-eluting stents. When placed in the body, the prohealing PROTEX coronary stent system from Nexeon MedSystems is recognized by the body as having the architecture of a normal artery. Hence, according to the start-up, the body begins to populate the stent quickly with regular functioning cells, rather than reacting to the stent as a foreign metal. Because the thin, low-profile stent platform is biomimetic, rapid healing should occur.

MicuRx Pharmaceuticals

Like numerous other companies working to develop novel anti-bacterial drugs, MicuRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. aims to modify existing chemical scaffolds to come up with better compounds. The start-up is particularly interested in four scaffolds known to inhibit protein synthesis-a common mechanism of action for anti-bacterial drugs. While the company's CEO and CSO-both of whom were among the scientific founders of Vicuron Pharmaceuticals--can offer much from their personal experience, MicuRx is carefully mining medical literature for insights and observations that can inform specific modifications to drug molecules.

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