Beyond the Pitch
Healing Wounds Rapidly with Nanofiber Solutions
Nanofiber Solutions™, an Ohio-based regenerative medicine company, is developing a new class of medical implants for soft tissue and organ repair and replacement.
The firm provides absorbable, three-dimensional (3-D) nanofiber scaffolding that mimics structures found in the human body.
“Every type of soft tissue and organ has a cellular and extra-cellular structure associated with it,” said Ross Kayuha, Nanofiber Solutions CEO. “Nanofiber Solutions creates nanomaterial that promotes tissue regeneration by giving the body a pathway to perform its natural healing function.”
Kayuha, a serial entrepreneur and business executive, joined Nanofiber Solutions shortly after technical co-founders Jed Johnson, Ph.D., and John Lannutti, Ph.D., created the company to commercialize the results of their multiple years of research at The Ohio State University.
One Solution for Multiple Markets
Nanofiber Solutions is working with diverse research institutions to bring multiple devices across multiple clinical areas to the market simultaneously.
“Since the beginning of the company, we’ve been working with large research institutions on a variety of medical devices across clinical areas, Kayuha said, “including intestines and a trachea with Nationwide Children’s and an esophagus with Mayo research. We recently submitted our first product for FDA regulatory clearance. This product is for the care of advanced wounds and will be starting our final testing for a soft tissue augmentation device for orthopedics as well as a vascular product.”
The company is targeting commercial availability for the wound care solution by the end of this year. “There are wounds, diabetic ulcers or injuries, that today will not heal because the body’s cells just can’t get to the site,” Kayuha said. “We will give those cells a path.”
Nano-scaffolding provides a compatible place for cells to grow, inside the body for healing or outside the body for research.
The nano-scaffolding is expected to allow a wound to heal more rapidly, with more native tissue and less scarring. “The healing that takes place is considered a better healing,” said Kayuha.
Compared to traditional 2-D surfaces and other 3-D structures, the potential benefits of Nanofiber Solutions products are far-ranging across human and veterinary medicine.
Personalized Stem Cell Treatments Are the Future of Medicine
Nanofiber Solutions’ products are a means to increase stem cell expansion rates. Patent protected electro-spun fiber plates hold promise for cell culturing and cancer research.
The company also offers a line of veterinary products, based on the same technology used in the human products. Veterinary products include wound healing mesh, soft tissue repair mesh, injectable NanoWhiskers™ for osteoarthritis and soft tissue repair, and NanoLig™ of various lengths for tendon and ligament replacement.
“All of our products, do a good job at the cellular level, of having cells adhere to the nanofibers,” Kayuha said.
Strategic Partnerships for Research, Distribution, and Funding
“The biggest hurdle for a company like ours is funding,” said Kayuha. “That’s why early funding from Rev1 and the State of Ohio was incredibly important.” Leaving no stone unturned, Nanofiber Solutions also secured grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
“That helps with specific projects,” Kayuha said, “but you can’t run a company on that. The investments from Rev1 and the State were a huge boost and allowed us to continue and get the kind of data to prove to outside investors that we are real and that they should pay attention. That data led to investors beyond Ohio and even outside the U.S. through a relationship we have with Columbus-based Ikove Capital Partners.”
Kayuha acknowledges that there is pull for a promising medical device company to leave middle America for Boston or San Diego.
“The storyline is that if you want to be successful and raise capital, you have to go there,” he said, “but we are glad to be building our company here. Ohio is where we want to live. We have families here. People are happy to help you here. I can pick up the phone and talk to someone I haven’t spoken to in years, and know that they will help me. People here are so easy to work with. I’m amazed every day.”
As a CEO who has invested seven years commercializing a remarkable technology, Kayuha offers three tips for entrepreneurs and scientists who want to bring their innovative medical device technology to the market.
“Find a good intellectual property attorney, get scientific proof of concept data as cost-effectively and quickly as you can, and continually build on your investment network, locally and everywhere else,” he said.
As he continues expanding Nanofiber Solutions’ research and development relationships with scientific institutions and finding sources of capital, Kayuha remains a champion for the Ohio entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“We want to prove that a medical device business can be done from here,” he said. “We want to encourage other companies like ours to startup and do it here.”
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