Start-Up Previews (05/2011)
A preview of the emerging health companies profiled in the current issue of Start-Up. This month's profile group, "Rare Disease Research: Where Compassion Meets Commerce," features profiles of Afraxis, bluebird bio, Edimer Pharmaceuticals and Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical. Plus these Start-Ups Across Health Care: AirXpanders, Arterion, CortiCare and Sirius Implantable Systems.
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Bacterial cellulose used in the pulp and paper industry has found a new home in the creation of artificial blood vessels for cardiovascular repair. The synthetic material from Sweden's Arterion AB is noteworthy because it appears to function well in small-diameter bypass surgery. The replacement vascular graft also avoids the drawbacks of harvesting veins from the legs and arms. The company believes it can tailor the material to nearly any shape or mechanical property.
Women who undergo mastectomy for breast cancer may soon be able to play a more active role in their recovery. An implanted tissue expansion system from AirXpanders Inc. uses compressed carbon dioxide to stretch existing tissue in preparation for a permanent breast implant. The patient is also given an external handheld dose controller that releases small amounts of CO2 into the tissue expander, up to three times daily for about two weeks.
Intertwining technologies of a miniature left ventricular pacemaker with a leadless electrode from Israeli-based Sirius Implantable Systems Ltd. may someday improve the quality of pacing therapy and reduce the incidence of complications associated with conventional electrical wiring for standard pacemakers. Sirius' unique self-powered pacemaker and the leadless electrode will be implanted on the left side of the heart by minimally invasive surgery and can be matched with any standard pacing device in the market.