A former Medtronic president and the director of Emory University Orthopaedics and Spine Center have launched a biotechnology company to develop molecular compounds. The goal is to develop treatments to repair skeletal tissue in cases ranging from orthopedic surgery to osteoporosis.
Scott Boden, SkelRegen co-founder and the company’s chief medical and technology officer, said in a company statement: “We discovered several small molecules that simply help the body’s own regeneration machinery do its job. We are basically building bone from scratch now, with the expectation of building cartilage and other soft tissue in the near future,” according to a company statement. Boden is also a professor of orthopaedics at Emory University School of Medicine.
Stephen R. La Neve, the company’s CEO, has 30 years’ experience in diagnostics and devices. He was president of Medtronic’s spine and biologics business and also also held the role of president at Medtronic Japan. He most recently worked at Beckton Dickinson.
The idea behind the West Chester, Pennsylvania company is to use small molecules to enhance the function of the body’s Bone Morphogenetic Proteins, partly by blocking BMP inhibitors to improve the regeneration of bone and soft tissue.
The compounds the company is using have known safety and toxicity profiles, according to the company’s website, potentially reducing the commercialization costs.
SkelRegen sees at least a $17 billion market opportunity in treating bone fractures, accelerating bone repair, and reducing the amount of time bones would have to be set in casts.
Although the use of bone morphogenetic proteins is the source of some exciting innovations, BMP-2, particularly in spinal fusion surgery, has been a source of controversy in recent years. Since it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002, there have been reports of an increased risk of serious complications and adverse events to patients receiving it.
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