Biomatrix | Game-changing treatment for intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration.
74 to 85% of the population experience back pain at least once in their lives – of which the most prevalent cause is degenerative disc disease. Biomatrix wants to provide a credible, functional, alternative for the treatment of degenerative disc disease.
Prof Ito, head of the Department of Biomechical Orthopedics at the TU Eindhoven and his team spent years researching the curative effects of notocordal cells and their cellmatrix proteins for various orthopedic conditions. In the course of their work the identified cellmatrix proteins showed positive effects in treating degenerative spinal disc disease and early large joint osteoarthritis. NLC,the leading dutch venture builder, evaluated this technology and saw significant commercial potential in the technology and founded the startup – NC Biomatrix bv – together with the university in April 2019.
NC Biomatrix’s innovative product is a medical therapy able to restore the natural biomechanics of the spine, alleviating the common cause of low back pain. We want to focus on restoring function instead of symptom relief and provide a non-invasive treatment option that does not cost more than current practice.
The ambitious startup has the mission to become world leader in providing early stage, non-surgical, curative solutions for major orthopedic medical needs based on the proprietary biomatrix technology oft he company.
Pain and lack of mobility due to back pain (from spinal disc degeneration) or knee pain from early osteoarthritis cause significant societal costs mainly from lack of productivity (work days lost), significant costs and burdens on the health care system and a general loss oft he quality of life fort he affected patients. Alone in the Netherlands, the societal costs from back pain are estimated at 3 billion€ annually and last year over 800,000 patients sought medical treatrment for their back pain. The impact Biomatrix can make for all those patients is huge.
“In a startup every team member is key to the success of the company, so you have the abuility to make a real difference in how the company develops and suceeds.”
In the years since its founding the company has made significant progress. The startup managed to transfer the technology into a commercial manufacturer. Besides that, they completed the required validations, which was an important step too. Biomatrix also made agreements with 2 spine centers in the Netherlands and Germany for a pilot clinical study. On top of that, the startup completed a first equity bridge round of €800K.
On short term, the key challenge is the initial clinical validation of their VitaDisc® product. Reimbursement of the treatment is the longer term challenge for Biomatrix. Both long- and short-term funding for the company remains a continuous challenge for the startup.
Biomatrix is also funded in their early-stage by the Brabant Startup Fonds (BSF). The BSF was instrumental in the seed funding of the company; along with the Momentum Fund, the BSF loan enabled the company to continue to develop preclinical validation, transfer the technology from academia to a commercial environment and to prepare the initial clinical trials.
According to Bob Guilleaume, CEO of Biomatrix, working on a startup is appealing: “In a startup every team member is key to the success of the company, so you have the abuility to make a real difference in how the company develops and suceeds. Decisions are made quickly and directly with no waste of time. And you create the company culture directly.”
Bob also shares relevant tips for future entrepreneurs: Do not be afraid to fail! Every entrepeneur experiences failures and setbacks; successfull entrepeneurs get back up and find creative solutions or pivot the company in a new direction. Realise most everything you plan may well take longer than you expect; develop contingency planst o address these possible delays. Build a strong network to help you in the multiple areas that you will have to suceed – IP, regulatory, manufacturing, data and IT, etc.