Startup Seals Deal With MIT on Wound-Sealing, Self-Assembling, Nanoscale Technology

4/25/08

A super-stealthy MIT spinoff is poking its head out today to announce that it has finalized a licensing agreement with the Institute. The pact gives Arch Therapeutics rights to a family of clear liquids developed by research scientist Rutledge Ellis-Behnke that stanch or prevent bleeding after an injury or during surgery.

Ellis-Behnke and his colleagues had started out working with the liquids, which are packed with tiny protein fragments, or peptides, as potential aids to the regeneration of damaged neural tissue; they discovered in the course of brain surgeries on lab animals that some of the peptides stopped bleeding—within just 15 seconds. It turned out that what was happening was the nanoscale peptides were self-assembling into a biodegradable gel that sealed the wound on contact.

Around the same time as that work was published in 2006, Ellis-Behnke founded Arch—which then went by the perhaps-too-literal Clear Nano Solutions—with healthcare investment veteran Terrence Norchi and Steve Kelly, a serial entrepreneur and founding CEO of Myomo, another MIT spinoff. (Both Myomo’s founders and Ellis-Behnke have received grants from MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation.) The company still has yet to ink any venture financing deals; in an article in Mass High Tech written shortly after the company’s founding, Kelly was identified as the sole investor in the firm.

It’s still early days, but Arch materials might eventually be used in the operating room, on the battle field, or even in first-aid kits. Says former Cleveland Clinic head and Arch advisor Floyd D. Loop in a press release: “Discovering ways to control something so fundamental as bleeding has potentially huge implications for the medical field.”

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