The latest investment by aMoon Partners, an investment company founded by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) cofounder Marius Nacht, is in CartiHeal. The Israeli company, which is developing technology for regenerating damaged cartilege tissue and bone, today announced an $18.3 million financing round led by aMoon, with participation from previous CartiHeal investors Elron Electronic Industries Ltd. (TASE: ELRN) (the leading investor in CartiHeal), JJDC (the investment fund of Johnson & Johnson), and Peregrine Ventures. Previous investors in CartiHeal not participating in the current round include Accelmed (controlled by Uri Geiger and Mori Arkin) and Access Medical Ventures, led by Limor Sandach, Dvir Keren, and Dr. Michael Tal.
CartiHeal is preparing for a human clinical trial of Agili-C, its implant for regenerating damaged cartilage and bone. The company believes that its trial will make it possible to submit its product to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval. The trial will take place in the US, Europe, and Israel. CartiHeal has already attained CE marketing approval for Agili-C, but no marketing has actually begun.
The company's product is based on synthetic materials, one of which is called aragonite. The other is a compound of aragonite with hyaluronic acid. The implant biodegrades in the implantation site, and promotes the repair of the cartilage and subchondral bone. The material is implanted by injection; no surgery is needed. After some time, the cells break down the implant, which is absorbed. CartiHeal says that the main advantage of its product is its ability to regenerate cartilage, so that the cartilage does not contain scar tissue. The market for treatment of damaged cartilage is estimated at $2 billion.
CEO Nir Altschuler founded CartiHeal in cooperation with Ben Gurion University of the Negev. The idea was commercialized by BG Negev Technologies and Applications, the university's technology commercialization company, into the Incentive incubator in Ariel, which Peregrine Ventures uses as a franchise holder.
Results of a more limited trials of Agili-C showed that it caused renewed growth of natural cartilage and subchondral bone, thereby alleviating pain.
"The treatment proposed by CartiHeal gives new hope to patients suffering daily from damaged cartilage and bone caused by trauma or degenerative changes," says aMoon managing partner Dr. Yair Schindel. "The technology developed by CartiHeal leads to the regeneration of natural cartilage and bone in a single simple procedure. We are excited to be part of the development of a promising solution that is already showing impressive results in Israel and throughout the world."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on May 7, 2017
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