Histogen Forms Joint Venture to Advance Regenerative Orthopedics

3/11/13Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego-based Histogen, a regenerative medicine company founded in 2007, says today it has partnered with a group of medical device investors to establish a joint venture, PUR Biologics, to adapt its expertise in fibroblasts, the cells that form connective tissue, for use in orthopedics. The joint venture is based in Aliso Viejo, CA, in Orange County just a few miles north of the San Diego County line.

Using a proprietary bioreactor that mimics an embryonic environment, Histogen cultures and grows fibroblasts to produce a variety of products. PUR Biologics plans to apply Histogen’s human multipotent “cell conditioned media” and “extracellular matrix” materials in products for bone, tendon, cartilage, spinal disc, and ligament regeneration.

In a phone call today, PUR Biologics CEO Ryan Fernan says the company also plans to begin tests this week intended to demonstrate the feasibility of using Histogen’s compounds as a coating for titanium hip implants and other devices.

Histogen founder Gail Naughton identified coatings for orthopedic implants and patches for repairing torn ligaments when she first outlined her startup strategy for me more than four years ago. But Fernan says PUR Biologics only officially became a company Friday.

Fernan, an angel investor and medical device executive, says he’s self-funding PUR Biologics with a few partners for the first year. He’s spent more than a decade in medical sales and management. He was most recently the president of OC Surgical, where he began in late 2006 as a manufacturer’s representative and grew it into a multimillion-dollar business with divisions in spine, orthopedic, durable medical equipment, and biologic markets.

PUR Biologics plans to build on early proof-of-concept data to advance orthopedic products based on Histogen’s fibroblast-based compounds through all stages of development and commercialization. The company plans to focus its R&D efforts initially on bone regeneration, which has potential benefit in a number of orthopedic applications.

In a statement today, Histogen’s Naughton says, “This joint venture provides Histogen the opportunity to see its innovative cell-derived products make strides in the large and important orthopedic market, while continuing to focus on development of its hair growth, skincare and oncology applications.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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