Funding Granted to French Medical Device Startup to Industrialize 3D Printable Tissue Reconstruction Polymer Platform

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Medical device startup Gecko Biomedical, headquartered in Paris, France, is working on an exclusive platform of innovative, synthetic polymer solutions in the area of tissue reconstruction. The company is dedicated to developing and eventually commercializing the platform, based on a proprietary polymer family with unique properties such as high viscosity and bioresorbability, in order to address unmet clinical needs.

This week, Gecko was granted €6 million in funding for its PIAVE (Promising Industrial Projects) project proposal from the Investments for the Future (PIA) program, which is piloted by the General Secretariate for Investment (SGPI). PIAVE is operated by Bpifrance and its call for projects covers R&D and industrialization work, along with work to reinforce competitiveness within strategic French sectors.

“Bpifrance has supported Gecko Biomedical since its creation,” said Marie Zwarg, Area Leader for Healthcare within Bpifrance’s Industrial Sectors management team. “We are delighted to contribute to furthering the development of its top-level technological platform with multiple applications, while also contributing to its industrialization in France.”

The PIA program was established by the French government to fund the country’s innovative and promising investments, and a budget of €305 million has been allocated to its PIAVE initiative, through state assistance such as refundable advance payments and subsidies.

PIAVE projects must:

  • involve a program entailing a minimum spend of €3 million, along with a remit entailing business and employment prospects
  • entail industrial activity and prove, on fruition, to be autonomous with regards to public support
  • benefit several small and medium enterprises (SMEs) or independent mid-cap companies (MCCs)
  • display a significant benefit to the sector and its structuring

Gecko’s SETALUM Sealant [Image: Gecko]

The funding granted to Gecko for PIAVE will contribute to the development and industrialization of its tissue reconstruction solutions, specifically for the peripheral nerve. Gecko’s synthetic polymers are biocompatible and light-activated, and can be applied to internal tissues during surgery, almost like a glue. They can act as a barrier, filler product, or adhesive without the use of sutures – which equals less time in the hospital for patients post-op.

The polymers in Gecko’s proprietary technology platform are bioresorbable, which means that they will be absorbed over time by a patient’s existing tissue, leaving behind no residual foreign material. Additionally, they are 3D printable. These polymers are highly viscous, hydrophobic, and can be cured on demand, which makes for a controlled delivery to targeted tissues for the purposes of reconstruction.

Gecko’s €6 million in funding for its PIAVE proposal will give the company the needed support to industrialize its polymers platform, as well as to develop a new program that will, according to a release, “enable the reconstruction of peripheral nerves, without sutures, using 3D-printed micro-conducts secured by one of the company’s exclusive adhesives.”

“This funding will allow us to speed up our industrialization process and equip ourselves with a globally unique manufacturing site,” said Gecko Biomedical’s CEO Christophe Bancel. “Cutting-edge processes will be performed on this site to produce all our liquid polymers in individual, sterile conditions, ready for use by surgeons. We also intend to speed up a second phase in our strategy through the industrial and clinical development of our 3D printing platform for flexible, bioresorbable and high-resolution implants, by leveraging our polymers as a biomedical resin, as well as by optimising state-of-the-art 3D printing techniques.”

The company is also in the midst of building a 1,150 m2 manufacturing site, powered by 100% green electricity, in the Hauts-de-France Region. The site will have four separate clean rooms and a large analytical laboratory.

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