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Start-Up News February 2008

Executive Summary

Noteworthy news from medtech start-ups. In this issue: New Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering, with brief profiles of BioCeramic Therapeutics Ltd., Histogen Inc., Humacyte Inc., and Tissue Regenix. (Adapted from "Scaffolds in Tissue Engineering," START-UP, February 2008.)

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The Rebirth of Dermagraft

Dermagraft is often mentioned as an example of a failure in tissue engineering, illustrating the difficulty of achieving return on investment in this field. The product was only a market failure, however; clinicians say that it worked to heal difficult wounds, and that it was just a product ahead of its time. Now small company Advanced BioHealing has given new life to the bioengineered dermal substitute, abandoned by Smith & Nephew, by supporting it with the focus, and the unique marketing and manufacturing skills that tissue-engineered products require. In the process, it believes it has created assets and skill-sets from which other tissue-engineering start-ups might benefit.

Multiple Paths of Convergence in Tissue Engineering

A collaboration within Carnegie Mellon is using ink-jet printing technology to create spatial patterns of growth factors, and in turn using them to influence the development of stem cells in vitro. The technology could provide a better means of harnessing the power of growth factor biology in regenerative medicine. The team is also using it to begin to develop rudimentary artificial bone-tendon-muscle constructs for eventual clinical use.

Swiss Finally Beat EMA On New Drug Approval Times

More rolling reviews, a reduction in review rounds, and a rise in applications through two international regulatory collaboration initiatives were among the factors behind a reduction in new drug authorization times in Switzerland last year. However, “submission gaps” versus other regulators remain a problem.

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