Start-Up Previews (05/2009)
A preview of the emerging health care companies profiled in the current issue of Start-Up. This month's profile group, "Medical Dermatology Gets Under VCs' Skin," features profiles of Garnet Biotherapeutics, Medimetriks and Topica Pharmaceuticals. Plus these Start-Ups Across Health Care: Carolus Therapeutics, Forma Therapeutics, NovaLign Orthopaedics, OmegaGenesis and PercSys.
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Go with what you know. This familiar adage is plainly influencing the strategy of Medimetriks Pharmaceuticals, a dermatology-products start-up now being managed by key team members from the former Bradley Pharmaceuticals. The firm says it is already cash-flow positive, on the strength of a portfolio that was assembled in just six months or so. Medimetriks' business strategy is a straightforward specialty pharma marketing scheme: the plan is to quickly build the company on the back of products that are familiar to specialized physicians that management can reach with small sales forces.
Garnet BioTherapeutics has developed a distinct population of "smart" bone-marrow derived cells capable of reducing inflammation and promoting healing. The firm also boasts a proprietary scalable cell expansion technology that can generate billions of patient doses of GBT009 from a single bone marrow donor, the company claims. The company plans to develop therapies to reduce scarring and accelerate healing in post-surgical wound repair and other dermatology applications. It may eventually expand into additional reconstructive and surgical procedures.
The founders of OmegaGenesis are betting that nanoparticles of so-called "rare earth elements" can promote angiogenesis-the growth of new blood vessels from existing ones-and so enable wound healing and hair re-growth. The company's plans center on europium, one of the rare earths found in the Earth's crust. At nano-scale, the compound exists in the form of tubes or rods, and laboratory tests indicate that putting these nanotubes into endothelial cells induces new capillaries to sprout forth.