May 23, 2018
Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. - Success Story: Veteran-Owned Theradaptive Earns TEDCO Support
Exploding IEDs rarely make things better, but one Maryland start-up company is turning tragedy into triumph. Theradaptive, founded in 2014, is a veteran-owned biopharmaceutical firm developing targeted therapeutics that repair damaged bones, cartilage and nerves through tissue regeneration. Luis Alvarez is Theradaptive’s founder and shared what motivates the company “the idea for our work started in the back of a Humvee following an IED blast…The point was, how do you deliver a very targeted therapeutic to repair devastating injuries?” Alvarez developed the technology underlying Theradaptive’s approach while he was at MIT following his deployment to Iraq in 2004.
Theradaptive recently caught the attention of the Maryland Technology Development Corporation’s (TEDCO) Stem Cell Research Fund. The group chose Theradaptive via an independent scientific peer review committee from a field of 20 other emerging companies vying for its highly competitive 2018 commercialization fund program. This grant supports start-up companies that commercialize promising technologies to meet identified market needs. The program fosters technological advancement through validation, market assessment, and the creation of University start-up companies in Maryland, which bolsters job growth and other economic benefits in turn.
Theradaptive’s current effort is a biphasic (bone/cartilage) stem cell delivery system for the repair of osteochondral defects. Known as ConForma, the product is a porous, biocompatible and resorbable scaffold that supports healing. It is based on Theradaptive’s core targeted drug delivery platform, which provides a precise control of dosing and timing of therapeutic protein release, increasing safety and efficacy while keeping costs competitive. Preclinical studies have been promising when compared head-to-head with current technology.
Yi Arnold, Director of Business Development and R&D says, “Over 950,000 Americans suffer chondral (cartilage) injuries annually and just under 500,000 of those require surgery. Unfortunately, the current standard of care often causes a poor outcome. People may suffer secondary arthritis or need additional surgery.” She continues, “The most important thing is that ConForma requires a single procedure, essentially eliminating the need for microfracture and improving the individual’s long-term quality of life.” As an off-the-shelf implant, the therapeutic is customizable, moldable, and conformable.
Another FITCI Alumnus, RoosterBio, earned the grant award last year. They will work with Theradaptive on the cell therapy aspect of the project. Kathie Callahan Brady, FITCI CEO, is an unabashed cheerleader for both companies. She says that personal motivation to make a positive impact is a unifying factor. “This is what FITCI was made to do, to foster collaborative relationships that push the boundaries of science and technology in a very meaningful, grand scale way. When they win, we’re all winners.”