Friday, September 18, 2015

GreenBone raises €3M from ZernikeMeta Ventures and Italian Angels for Growth (IAG)

Faenza, 18 September 2015GreenBone a medtech startup has raised €3M in a Series A funding round led ZernikeMeta Ventures, a finance company specialized in the finance for the innovation and creation of new companies, via its  Ingenium Emilia-Romagna fund,  some angels Italian Angels for Growth (IAG), the largest group of business angels in Italy active since 2007 in the development of new businesses and with the contribution of some private investors Italian and foreigners.

GreenBone Ortho srlan innovative startup according to the Italia law, was founded in March 2014 in Faenza (Emilia-Romagna) and is led by Lorenzo Pradella - Co-Founder and CEO&COO. 

The company wants to become a worldwide leader for biomimetics by providing innovative
and easy to use lifelike inspired solutions that will help cure severe diseases.
GreenBone develops a highly innovative wood derived bone implants technology, to generate biomimetic – reabsorbable– load bearing implant  suitable to address severe high morbidity condition including non-union fractures, through a breakthrough technology that foresees the realization of bone implants derived from natural structures such as the wood, with extraordinary regenerative properties and that are particularly suitable to face the loss of considerable portions of long bones following trauma or tumors, and other crises of the skeletal system. The high incidence of such damage often leads to significant impairments. Thanks to technology developed by GreenBone, the body recognizes the implant as its own, replacing it with true bone tissue. GreenBone first target is a clearly recognized unmet clinical need: pseudoarthrosis or non-union fractures. It represents an highly valuable niche market that can clearly demonstrate the properties of the new scaffold allowing its application in most of the other orthopedic surgery market segments. 

The idea was conceived and developed by a research group of the ISTEC-CNR of Faenza (Institute of Science and Technology of Ceramic Materials) composed by Andrea Ruffini, Simone Sprio and Anna Tampieri (team leader). The technology involves the processing of certain particular types of wood in an implant with the same chemical composition of the bone preserving the ability of the wood itself to bring weight. The result of this approach inspired by nature is a device able to regenerate natural bone having simultaneously the bearing capacity of load and therefore the possibility to improve the timing and quality of healing of the patient. Assessments of clinical-orthopedical type were made under the supervision of the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute of Bologna (Prof. M. Marcacci). The patent for this technology has been the subject of a license agreement between GreenBone  and CNR.

This technology is currently under preclinical study with a view to rapidly shift to the clinical phase that will be implemented involving Italian and international traumatology-orthopedic centers.

Accordingly a four year development plan is under execution with three main pillars: 

1) Regulatory compliant manufacturing line (accomplished); 
2) GLP study in sheep (completion Q3/2016); 
3) Pilot study in humans - about 30 patients in 4 EU/Israel hospitals (completion mid 2018). All activities will be performed fully in compliance with regulatory and quality requirements. CE Mark is planned by Q1/2016. USA regulatory is 510K.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: GreenBone  performances are paramount vs all others materials: it is a Ca/P ceramic (with all the very well known advantages) being also endowed with anisotropic structure and optimal mechanical properties never seen in a porous ceramic material, with also extraordinary bone regeneration properties. The only one suitable to generate large scaffold targeting critical size defects in long bone in addition to spinal and other applications.
The market is dominated by global players such as Biomet, DePuy Synthes, Medtronic, Stryker, Wright Medical, and Zimmer. In addition also regional companies (i.e. Wright Medical) play a remarkable role. Among early stage companies none is developing biomimetic large scaffolds for bone graft except using 3D-printing which still have significant limitation due to the use of polymers.

GreenBone targets a high value market segment with a smart one-shot solution. Team with 25 years experience and remarkable bench-to-market record. GreenBone  will complete development reaching clinical validation (POC) and be suitable for commercialization by the end of 2018 and then exit (2018-19) through M&A with a major industry players. 

The raised funds will be used to continue to develop its platform, conducting clinical studies on patients with bone damages, and obtain the CE mark.

ZernikeMeta Ventures (ZMV), holding company specializing in finance for innovation and new businesses creation, is an Italian-Dutch joint venture between Zernike Group and META Group both having decades of experience in early stage finance. 

Since 1987, Zernike and META have managed more than 200 million euro for the seed and start-up financing, investing between 200,000 and 1,000,000 euro in more than 250 companies and getting returns higher than the European sector average with 180 exits. ZMV manages, in Italy and abroad, seed funds and start-up capital addressing entrepreneurs with global ambitions and local roots.

ZMV consists of a team of professionals who provide investee companies with an extensive network of contacts, advice for the procurement of any additional financial resources, the identification of managerial and professional expertise, and support service for accelerating the commercialization of products through the available global network in United Kingdom, Spain, Slovenia, Italy, USA and Argentina.