Start-Up Previews (02/2008)
A preview of the emerging health care companies profiled in the current issue of Start-Up. This month's profile group, "Scaffolds in Tissue Engineering," features profiles of BioCeramic Therapeutics, Histogen, Humacyte and Tissue Regenix. Plus these Start-Ups Across Health Care: Braintact, CleveX, Coherex Medical and Lytix Biopharma.
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Tissue Regenix is developing what it describes as "de-cellularized biological scaffolds," which are meant to function like native tissue. Tissue Regenix uses tissue taken from pigs or cows as its starting material, then carefully strips out cells, leaving behind a complex matrix of proteins such as collagen and elastin. Once this matrix is implanted, the body's own cells go into it and encourage cell recruitment and tissue formation.
Lytix Biopharma is focused on lytic peptides derived from lactoferrin. The company's core technology is based on the identification of the pharmacophore of bioactive peptides and the subsequent creation of small mimetic molecules as drug leads using medicinal chemistry approaches. Its small molecules show antimicrobial and anticancer activity in early studies, as well as good specificity.
BioCeramic Therapeutics was formed around separate regenerative medicine technologies that it believes have broad potential. First up is a strontium containing glass-based material for use as a bone filler and a coating for metal implants used in various orthopedic and orthodontic procedures. The company is also developing a nanostructured synthetic extracellular matrix that could address the regeneration of hard and soft tissues, with the potential one day to allow almost any tissue to be grown.