GenOsteo and SpineSmith to take UTSA's first licensed technology to market

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(March 4, 2011)--San Antonio-based GenOsteo Inc. and Austin-based SpineSmith Partners announce an agreement to commercialize a synthetic scaffold that can be used with adult stem cells (ASCs) to produce a new and highly effective bone graft material. The scaffold, developed by biomedical engineers at The University of Texas at San Antonio, provides an optimal way to use ASCs for spinal fusion and restoring bone lost because of trauma or disease.

"Our scaffold offers surgeons a new and better way to deliver ASCs to promote bone formation. Delivering the right type of cells on the right scaffold will improve clinical results in orthopedic bone grafting procedures," said Daniel Oh, UTSA research assistant professor in the UTSA Department of Biomedical Engineering, president/CSO of GenOsteo and a member of the team that developed the new technology. "When the technology reaches the market, we expect it to become the product of choice for orthopedic and neurosurgeons who recognize the need for better bone graft materials."

There are numerous orthopedic applications for the GenOsteo scaffold technology. In addition to the use in spinal fusion and general orthopedics, the scaffolds can be used to support the regeneration of craniofacial bone in patients who have lost a portion of their skulls because of trauma, surgery or disease.

GenOsteo plans to evaluate its scaffold for use in orthopedic applications that impose greater mechanical demands on the graft material. Scaffolds that can withstand mechanical loading, while eventually being replaced by the patient's own bone as it heals, will represent another significant advance in bone grafting and tissue regeneration technology.

SpineSmith will focus on the marketing, sales and distribution of the product. The two partners are seeking growth funds to support product commercialization.

"This agreement is an exciting opportunity for both SpineSmith and GenOsteo," said James Poser, executive vice president of regenerative medicine at SpineSmith. "This development program will bring together one of the brightest and most innovative teams of material scientists and experts in musculoskeletal tissue regeneration. I fully expect that when the results of this collaborative effort are realized, we will be able to provide surgeons with the best option for their patients."

Founded in 2008, GenOsteo is the first start-up company out of UTSA that was established to commercialize UTSA intellectual property.

"This is the first example of UTSA bringing together the right environment of faculty research, university policy, IP management and collaboration with the business community to launch faculty-initiated technology ventures from the university, truly an example of UTSA's continued climb toward being a Tier One research university," said Cory Hallam, director of the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship.

GenOsteo is in UTSA's New Venture incubator, which serves as a bridge between San Antonio entrepreneurs and the region's research and development community. Established earlier this year at the UTSA Main Campus, the incubator supports start-up companies commercializing UTSA intellectual property and sponsors research that the university expects will enhance the UTSA intellectual property portfolio.

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About SpineSmith Partners

SpineSmith Partners LP is dedicated to creating better ways to facilitate and accelerate the healing of spinal disorders through integration of innovating medical devices and biologic technologies. SpineSmith designs, develops and markets implants and biologics for surgical fixation, correction and tissue regeneration of the spine. SpineSmith's dedication to a collaborative approach between scientists, engineering and spine surgeons results in the development of innovative biological and hardware technologies.

About STTM

STTM is the University of Texas System technology transfer office serving The University of Texas at San Antonio and other institutions in South Texas. STTM provides leadership in promoting innovation and technology transfer through proactive management of IP, technology development and commercialization to support the missions of member institutions, advance regional economic development and benefit the public.