Articular cartilage injuries can be the result of trauma or progressive degeneration. Damaged articular cartilage has little to no capacity to repair itself. Where the cartilage is damaged, the underlying bone has no protection from the normal wear and tear of joint movements and begins to break down, leading to osteoarthritis.
Microfracture is the first line treatment choice due to its low price and short surgical time. Surgical microfracture stimulates the formation of new cartilage like tissue.
However, microfracture has a high rate of revision surgery. It produces inferior mechanical tissue properties and limited tissue durability. More advanced personalized cell-based treatment options are expensive.
The global market for cartilage repair and regeneration treatments is expected to exceed USD 1.6 bn by 2025. High costs of cell based treatments, make an off-the-shelf solution and improvement of microfracture an attractive alternative.
The solution is a cell-free, off-the-shelf regenerative implant for articular cartilage repair that improves the result of microfracture treatment without adding significant cost or operating time. Scaffolds are derived from the extracellular matrix of articular cartilage. The composition and structure of the scaffolds mimic native cartilage and stimulate the formation of functional cartilage.
Endogenous cells from the bone marrow are recruited into the scaffolds for repair, leading to the development of normal articular cartilage.
Proof of principle has been achieved in a large animal model. Next steps will include GLP animal trials to get approval for a first-in-man clinical study.
Meet the team
Taco van der Feltz
A highly international and networked entrepreneur trained as Medical Doctor and Medical Biologist, he is a visionary strategist conversant within and across disciplines. As Venture Partner, his focus is on building innovative companies and strengthening NLC’s abilities to bring innovations to healthcare.