This article was originally published in Start Up
Imagine a type of cell that combines the advantages of a natural defense mechanism with the desirable attributes of a biopharmaceutical. The founders of ZelleRx Corp. believe they've found the best of both worlds in a particular type of natural killer cell, known as NK-92. Using the cell line, ZelleRx intends to develop cell therapies for cancer, initially renal cell carcinoma and melanoma.
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Wound Solutions Ltd. looks to the paradigm of patient self-care in diabetes to address the gaps in chronic wound care, where the feedback provided by blood glucose monitoring encourages changes in behavior. A small device that is placed under a compression bandage helps patients with venous leg ulcers comply with the steps they should be taking to support wound healing, in the process, collecting data that helps clinicians make informed therapy decisions.
The treatment of chronic wounds is challenging, not only because of the underlying biology, but also because of more practical considerations: fragmentation in the care settings, the logistics of delivering products to patients, and the costs of chronic care. Next generation advanced wound care companies are engineering solutions to these problems.
Overall in 2010, caution was the watchword for private investors, placing fewer dollars in fewer medtech deals compared to 2009. A total of $1.86 billion in private money was raised by medical device companies in 2010, a big drop from the $2.86 billion placed in the industry in 2009. Deal volume was down commensurately; there were 139 private medical device financings, compared to 207 in 2009. Investment dollars were apportioned, for the most part, in the usual fashion, with the largest proportion going into cardiovascular deals, followed by orthopedics. There were some surprises however, as a few categories, once avoided like the plaque, showed new investor interest.