Hoping to help the more than a million patients who undergo cartilage repair procedures each year, Israel's CartiHeal has raised $5 million in funding from Accelmed and Access Medical Ventures in preparation for its first European product launch early next year.
The young company's first product, the Agili-CTM implant, is indicated for the treatment of cartilage and osteochondral defects. Today, the most common treatments for cartilage injuries have a disadvantage in that they do not result in regeneration of hyaline cartilage. Young patients with cartilage injuries therefore run the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis at an earlier age. But the Agili-CTM offers a promising alternative, allowing the cartilage to heal at an early stage and thus preventing further joint deterioration.
The potential market for cartilage repair products could be more than $3 billion, the Israeli Technology Incubators Forum said last year, citing data from Medtech Insight. CartiHeal is poised to jump in and capture some of this market: Its implant has CE Mark approval, and it has started post-marketing studies in Europe and Israel.
Company execs are very excited about the potential for Agili-CTM. "No other technology has shown such promising results in being able to regenerate true hyaline cartilage in a single arthroscopic procedure," Nir Altschuler, founder and CEO of CartiHeal, explains in a release. "Our clinical results, to date, confirm rapid cartilage and bone formation, as clearly visible on MRIs and X-rays. Patients are reporting significant improvement in pain level and return to normal function, including sports. Since the Agili-CTM allows nearly immediate load bearing, post-operative rehabilitation is very fast."
- see the CartiHeal release