Israeli Cartilage Repair startup raises $10M to continue to study Agili-C

$10 Million Raised for Cartilage Repair (Orthopedics This Week)

An Israeli medical device company, CartiHeal Ltd, which was spun off from the Department of Biotechnology Engineering at Ben-Gurion University, has raised $10 million to spur the development of the company’s lead product, Agili-C. Agili-C is a single step arthroscopically-placed implant for repairing cartilage and osteochondral defects.

According to the company’s July 9 press release, Agili-C has demonstrated, in both animal and human studies, an ability to regenerate true hyaline cartilage—confirmed by the presence of Type II collagen—without the use of growth factors, stem cells or cell expansion techniques. The company reports that the results have been confirmed by histological analysis performed by NAMSA, an independent research laboratory. The Agili-C is CE marked and CartiHeal is currently conducting post-approval clinical studies in Europe.

Company officials quote research showing that injuries to the articular cartilage, if left untreated, lead to progressive joint changes and early onset of osteoarthritis. They claim that most common treatments for articular cartilage injuries (e.g. microfracture and osteochondral grafting) fall short, since they do not result in regeneration of hyaline cartilage.

They state that Agili-C, offers the 1.2 million patients undergoing cartilage repair annually worldwide, the potential for healing the defect with hyaline rather than “hyaline-like” fibrocartilage, possibly preventing the need for future joint replacement surgery in these patients.

“In our post-marketing studies, initial clinical outcomes are very promising,” said Nir Altschuler, founder and CEO of CartiHeal in the July 9 news release. “Biopsies and MRIs show the regeneration of hyaline cartilage as early as 6-12 months following implantation. This is nothing short of a technological breakthrough,” he said.

Founded in 2009, CartiHeal is a privately held company that develops proprietary implants for the regeneration of cartilage and bone disorders following sports injuries, trauma or degenerative joint changes.