Hy2Care raises € 3.7 mln for hydrogel technology to repair cartilage defects
Hy2Care BV, an innovative startup company that developed a ground breaking hydrogel technology for cartilage repair, has raised € 3.7 million in funding. The series A round was led by Brightlands Venture Partners and assisted by several co-investors and the Dutch Arthritis Society (ReumaNederland, previously Reumafonds). With the funding, the spin-off of the University of Twente will further commercialize the technology for veterinary use as well as initiate human trials.
Founded in 2014, Hy2Care focuses on the development and commercialization of a new hydrogel device that has shown impressive results in repairing cartilage defects. Previously typified as an ‘injectable plaster’, the hydrogel technology enables a fast repair of acute cartilage defects that often occur as a result of falls, accidents and sports injuries. The procedure promises a great improvement in near-term functionality and pain relief compared to current methods like arthroscopic debridement and microfracturing. Moreover, the hydrogel can be used during the initial arthroscopic viewing procedure, thereby diminishing the need for secondary surgery and revalidation.
The unique technology of Hy2Care was developed by prof. Marcel Karperien and his team of the Developmental BioEngineering group at the University of Twente. The latter will remain a shareholder in Hy2Care through its entrepreneurship accelerator, Novel-T. Prof Karperien will continue fulfilling the role of Chief Scientific Officer.“There is a major unmet need for repairing traumatic cartilage defects”says Marcel Karperien. “If not treated well, about 80% of these defects will lead to arthrosis, ultimately causing severe pain and needing very invasive solutions like artificial knee replacements. By coming up with a better early repair, we prevent much discomfort for patients as well as reduce significant healthcare costs”.
‘Having observed with Key Opinion Leaders the very promising results of the early preclinical tests, Hy2Care may be well on track to generate a breakthrough solution for acute cartilage defects in knees and other joints. As such, it is a great addition to our portfolio, in which we actively seek out companies pursuing unique solutions in healthcare”, according to Marcel Kloosterman, Director at Brightlands Venture Partners, who led the investment round.
ReumaNederland, previously Reumafonds is also an active supporter. They recently presented the Developmental BioEngineering group at the University of Twente with the “Research Center of Excellence” status in the field of arthrosis and intend to continue their support in the upcoming years to enable the technology to be proven clinically and successfully reaching patients.
Expansion of activities
Located at the University Twente Campus in Enschede, Hy2Care will also set up new offices and laboratory facilities within the Brightlands eco-system in the South of Limburg, thus enjoying the extensive network and resources that are available in this hotspot of (bio)polymer synthesis and clinical health. Upon closing of the investment, the company will be joined by Leo Smit, who will lead the company as CEO. He has gained experience in the field of joint repair and biomaterials through the commercial development of high strength fibers for devices that are currently the standard of care in orthopedic tendon and ligament repair. “This is an exciting venture to join, the technology holds the promise of becoming the new ‘Golden Standard’ for cartilage repair. It will be a great opportunity for our team to bring this to patients as soon as possible”.
Picture: Emiel Muijderman