Medical Device Daily

Mako Surgical (Hollywood, Florida), an orthopedic technology company, said it has signed a licensing agreement with the University of Florida (UF; Gainesville), securing all rights in medical applications to a low-friction, ultra-low-wear-rate polymer, PEEK/ PTFE nano-composite material, dubbed Material X by the UF scientists who invented it.

Financial details of the agreement are not being disclosed, Benny Hagag, director for implant and business development for Mako, told Medical Device Daily.

Why the name Material X?

That s one of the questions we asked the guys that invented it, Hagag said. They said that when they invented it, they couldn t explain the low-wear rate, it was behaving in such a fantastic way.

He said that Mako and the UF researchers now believe that the key is in the manufacturing process which binds the molecule fibers of the material together, thus preventing the molecules to be pulled out of the surface when working under wear loads not letting them disintegrate.

Hagag said that the company is currently working to understand the flexibilities and sensitivities of Material X as it ramps up manufacturing so that in the process we can control it 100%.

He said that the company will focus on using Material X with its own products, but would consider licensing to companies outside Mako s field.

While Material X has potential applications in many areas, Mako is targeting its use in the knee replacement surgery sector, which it puts at $4 billion annually. Thus, it anticipates using the material in its knee implant and bone resurfacing technologies.

We are encouraged by the early results of our research with UF, said Dr. Maurice Ferre, Mako s president and CEO, and excited about how this potentially game-changing material, when coupled with our proprietary technology, will enable surgeons to advance standard surgical approaches treating degenerative diseases of the knee.

Ultimately, he said Material X may be the ideal complement to the company s Makoplasty therapy, whereby we will enable the delivery of a joint implant through a keyhole incision, but also ensure the implant itself will resist wear well beyond today s implant standards.

Ferre explained that Makoplasty is performed in combination with a robotic system developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts). FDA 510(k)-cleared, the procedure will be launched into clinical use in the next two to three months, Ferre told MDD.

Another of Mako s products, the Haptic Guidance System, enables surgeons to digitally sculpt and preserve bone tissue through keyhole incisions in an accurate, reproducible manner.

Private equity-funded, Mako gathered in a $20 million B round of financing last August.

The University of Florida is pleased to expand our already substantial research and commercial relationship with Mako, a company recognized by the Florida Venture Forum for high-growth potential, executives at UF s tech licensing center said in a statement.

UF s Office of Technology Licensing, the university s commercialization center, reports that it receives nearly 300 disclosures per year generated from the research taking place on campus.

In other dealmaking news:

BioMachines (Carrboro, North Carolina), a biotech company that sells advanced automation tools to accelerate drug discovery, reported that Clearview (Raleigh, North Carolina), a consulting and advisory services firm, has acquired a majority stake in the business. Terms were not disclosed.

With the purchase, Sam Tetlow, founding partner of Clearview and a principal with Research Triangle Ventures, is now chairman of BioMachines. He has named Tom Larrichio, formerly vice president of business development at TriVirix International, as CEO of BioMachines.

Tetlow said that BioMachines has deep scientific expertise and a pipeline of novel diagnostic tools that will have a meaningful impact to the work of leading drug discovery researchers, especially those working in . . . proteomics.

BioMachines products focus on automating front-end sample preparation for matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry analysis.

Pacific Mobile Diagnostics (PMD; Phoenix) reported acquiring Remote Access Diagnostic Radiography (RADR; Bloomfield, Colorado). Terms were not disclosed.

PMD recently was spun off from SunAlliance Healthcare Services, a national healthcare services provider in a management buyout led by SunAlliance Vice President Rick Baker. Both firms provide mobile radiography, EKG and ultrasound services to long-term care patients and corrections facilities.

Baker, president of the newly independent company, said, [O]ur strategy is to be the leader in mobile [in Colorado]. This combination with RADR, which has an all-digital approach . . . is the right move at the right time.

The companies will operate in long-term care, skilled nursing and correctional facilities in Arizona and Colorado. Operations at PMD have begun the transformation to digital radiography, and RADR was the first all-digital provider in Colorado.

Arcadia Resources (Southfield, Michigan), a provider of home care and staffing services, including travel nursing, mail-order pharmacy and respiratory and durable medical equipment, reported acquiring Remedy Therapeutics (Crys- tal Lake, Illinois). Financial terms were not disclosed.

Aracadia said that Remedy would bring it annual sales of $2.7 million.

Arcadia retained Michael Burke, founder of Remedy, as Arcadia s regional manager for what is known as the Chicagoland area.

Larry Kuhnert, president of Arcadia, said, We are very excited to integrate Remedy Therapeutics into Arcadia s home respiratory care and durable medical equipment division.

Medistem Laboratories (Scottsdale, Arizona), a developer, it said, of non-controversial adult stem cell sources, reported acquiring a potential treatment for cancer using stem cells to reprogram malignant cells to behave like normal cells, a procedure discovered by Dr. Thomas Ichim, a Medistem consultant.

Terms were not disclosed.

Neil Riordan, PhD, CEO of Medistem, said the technology described in the patent application focuses on stem cell therapies that have demonstrated anticancer effects by inducing cancer cells to differentiate into benign, non-malignant cells. The patent pending pertains specifically to the use of stem cells derived from adult sources, such as umbilical cords and placentas from healthy, full-term births.

While chemotherapy and radiation therapy induce severe side effects through collateral damage to non-cancerous cells and organs, the present invention utilizes the ability of cancer cells to be reprogrammed into benign, non-cancerous progeny, said Ichim.