RepRegen bioactive glass promotes hard tissue repair
16 March 2010
RepRegen, the biomaterials developer previously known as
BioCeramic Therapeutics, has announced that data from an in vitro
study has demonstrated that its patented Strontium-based bioactive glass
platform promotes osteoblast cell activity and proliferation.
The company says that, if in vivo studies, which are
currently underway, demonstrate similar results, then its platform
has the potential to significantly improve the repair and
regeneration of hard-tissue, such as bone. The in vitro
study was presented at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Orthopaedic
Research Society (ORS).
The Company’s hard-tissue platform is based on ‘smart’
bioceramics designed to be used, initially, by orthopaedic product
manufacturers and surgeons. A major innovation is the use of
Strontium, which boosts the performance of the bioceramics. The
in vitro study demonstrated that Strontium has “a clear
positive effect on bone cell activity and mineralisation.” Strontium
can be added to bioactive glass in place of, and in combination
with, Calcium, thereby improving biological properties but “with
minimal alteration of the physical properties of the glass”.
“The addition of Strontium boosts the performance of our
hard-tissue platform,” explained Dr Molly Stevens, RepRegen’s Chief
Scientific Officer. Dr Stevens also is Professor of Biomedical
Materials and Regenerative Medicine and Research Director for
Biomedical Material Sciences at the Institute of Biomedical
Engineering and the Department of Materials, Imperial College
“Replacing broken or worn-out body parts are not new ideas, of
course. But our ‘smart’ biomaterials are designed to enhance the
cellular growth properties of tissue and also catalyze better and
faster healing,” added Dr Stevens.
Bioceramics have been helping improve the quality of life for
millions of people for several decades. Now, London-based RepRegen,
a spin-out from the Imperial Innovations business incubator at
Imperial College London, has developed ‘smart’ bioceramic materials
with Strontium. This invention has enabled the company to develop
novel products designed with performance characteristics that yield
“The first market to be targeted by RepRegen is orthopaedic. The
global market for the orthopaedic biomaterials sector was $4 billion
in 2006 and is expected to more than double by 2012 to $8.8 billion.
Of particular interest to us is the fact that this sector, while
huge, is also fragmented, thus offering RepRegen many sales and
out-licensing opportunities based on various applications of our
‘smart biomaterials’ platforms,” said Ian Brown, RepRegen’s CEO.
“RepRegen’s business model is quite different from many medical
technology companies that rely exclusively on just one product,”
said RepRegen’s Chairman, Dr. Stephen Rietiker.
“Companies like RepRegen that are fortunate enough to have
numerous product opportunities — in fact, RepRegen has two
platforms, one focused on hard-tissue such as bone and the other on
soft-tissue such as cartilage — have a choice between out-licensing
or sale of their technologies on the one hand, and taking a product
to market themselves on the other. Of course, some choose both
options, which is RepRegen’s strategy. This is an attractive
business model, similar to the drug discovery sector of Big Pharma,
where early revenues serve as commercial validation of product