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 London.

“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 competitive advantages.

“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 opportunities.”

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