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Start-Up Previews (05/2009)

Executive Summary

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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NovaLign Orthopaedics Inc.

Not much has changed over the past quarter century in surgically treating long-bone fractures of the humerus, tibia and the femur. Typically, these fixation procedures involve the insertion of an intramedullary nail through an adjacent joint and down the center of the injured bone. But a new method to treat long-bone fractures developed by NovaLign Orthopaedics avoids the need to involve an adjacent joint. Its IM fixation system offers a less invasive surgical technique, while providing comparable structural integrity of more traditional devices, according to the company. The key is a device that operates in both a flexible and rigid mode through a small entry point outside the joint capsule.

OmegaGenesis Corp.

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.

Carolus Therapeutics Inc.

Macrophage migration inhibiting factor (MIF) has been a target for drug developers for years because of its potential to fight inflammation in a variety of indications. To date, efforts targeting MIF have been largely unsuccessful perhaps because, as Carolus Therapeutics' scientific founders theorized, MIF activity is mediated through two chemokine receptors, CXCR2 and CXCR4. Carolus has developed peptides that selectively disrupt MIF binding to those receptors, It also has a therapeutic antibodies program for MIF. If successful, its compunds could find application in a range of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, tissue transplant rejection, cancer, and a number of orphan indications

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