Start-Up Previews (10/2010)
A preview of the emerging health care companies profiled in the current issue of Start-Up. This month's profile group, "Eyeing New Drugs For Glaucoma," features profiles of Altheos, Amakem and Mimetogen Pharmaceuticals. Plus these Start-Ups Across Health Care: Aragon Surgical, Arcarios, Carolina BioPharm, Miromatrix Medical and Pathogenica.
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Regenerative medicine start-up Miromatrix Medical is working to commercialize a technology known as perfusion decellularization. Its proprietary, patent-protected technology involves the decellularization of any vascularized tissue, up to and including whole organs, leaving behind a completely preserved native scaffold (matrix) that retains the original architecture, mechanical properties and vascular network of the tissue or organ. This scaffold can then be repopulated with vascular- and organ-specific regenerative cells and, under controlled conditions in a bioreactor, a biocompatible, functioning organ or tissue is created.
Pathogenica, co-founded by Harvard's George Church, PhD, views itself as an "apps" company for a variety of human genome sequencing platforms. Its BioDetection system has the potential to screen thousands of samples, each tested for hundreds of unique pathogen strains at a predicted cost of less than one dollar per pathogen. The start-up aims to enable effective and affordable pathogen sequencing in a wide range of markets - physician, veterinary, and farming - not just scientific.
Mimetogen Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s founding goal was to use synthetic analogs of nerve growth factor to protect the retinal ganglion cells of the optic nerve that die as glaucoma progresses. In doing so, it intended to show that its drugs provided neuroprotective ability and also enhanced this effect for other treatments prescribed to lower intraocular pressure. Mimetogen validated that program in animals, but given the cost and length of clinical trials for glaucoma, the company switched gears and began developing its NGF mimetics as potential treatments for dry eye.