2 February 2017
STFC spin-out, The Electrospinning Company, (TECL) has secured a £650,000 investment to establish itself as the leading provider of clinical-grade electrospun biomaterials to the medical device industry.
Electrospinning is a process in which an electrical charge is used to produce fibres that are a hundred times thinner than a human hair. These fibres are electrospun into microscopic 3D scaffolds, much smaller than the eye can see. These microscopic materials can be used to develop nanofibre membranes that can be surgically placed in the body to promote natural repair by the host’s own cells, improving healing and reducing internal scarring, and can be tailored to degrade, or resorb, once healing has taken place.
Until now, quality control issues relating to a lack of consistent and scalable manufacturing methods have hindered clinical use of such materials. However, with its advanced technology and know-how, the company has been able to overcome these challenges and is now positioned to profit from the increasing interest in the use of biomaterials.
As of 2016, the Company is supplying clinical-grade electrospun material into the first FDA-approved medical device that includes such materials, and into a Phase I clinical trial for corneal repair in India. The company is also building a portfolio of contract development projects with regenerative medical device customers.
A spin-out of STFC, The Electrospinning Company was the first company to join the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre (link to: http://www.esa-bic.org.uk/default.aspx) at the Harwell Campus (ESA BIC Harwell) when it first opened in 2010. Set up to help start-ups with brilliant ideas using space technology to address the really significant challenges facing our society, it was at the ESA BIC Harwell that the company refined its cutting edge technology that combined equipment originally designed for use in space programmes with the electrospinning process.
Dr Liz Kirby, Head of Innovations at STFC, said: “As an STFC start-up, I am very excited to hear about The Electrospinning Company’s funding success and recent progress. This is a fantastic example of how world class science, teamed with the right business and innovation support in a small company’s early days, can help it flourish and achieve success.”
The £650k funding has come from a network of UK angel investors, including Angels 5K, LBA, Minerva, Wroxall, Angels in MedCity and OION, as well as from the Rainbow Seed Fund. It will now enable the company to invest in production capacity, quality systems and business development, with a focus on growing its presence in the key US market.
Ann Kramer, CEO of The Electrospinning Company, commented “We have made significant progress over the past year and, thanks to the support of angel and venture networks, are well-positioned to grow as the use of novel materials in medical devices increases”.
View The Electrospinning Company’s press release.
Hear from The Electrospinning Company’s CEO, Ann Kramer, from when the company was part of the ESA Business Incubation Centre at Harwell.
(Credit: ESA BIC Harwell)