New funding will commercialise an orthopaedic joint implant from Loci for a common but crippling condition.
Loci Orthopaedics has raised €2.75m in funding for a new clinically proven solution to address the increasing unmet need for thumb base joint arthritis.
Enterprise Ireland funded the development work at NUI Galway through the Commercialisation Fund Programme, which is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund under Ireland’s European Structural and Investment Funds Programme 2014-2020.
‘Thumb base arthritis has a huge impact on the quality of life and on the independence of patients as they age’
– GERRY CLARKE
“Loci are a great example of a market-led innovative company addressing unmet medical needs and a substantial market opportunity,” said Enterprise Ireland’s high-potential start-up manager, Alan Hobbs.
“We congratulate them and look forward to continue working with them to achieve their global ambitions.”
The luck – and hard work – of Loci
The company is developing the InDx Implant to meet this need and access a market estimated at more than €550m per annum.
Arthritis of the thumb base joint causes significant functional impairment of the hand. Those with this condition are either restricted in, or often lose the ability to perform, everyday tasks such as using a mobile phone, turning keys in a door and even writing, due to increasingly severe pain.
Around 5pc of the population suffer from severe thumb base arthritis. This equates to more than 40m people in the US and EU with significant symptoms. This condition is most common in those over the age of 65. As the population of the US and EU ages, the number affected by this debilitating condition is set to increase dramatically in the next 15 years.
There are more than 200,000 surgical procedures carried out each year in the EU and the US combined for severe thumb base arthritis. Due to the lack of a reliable and clinically satisfactory solution, there is a wide gap between symptomatic patients and patients currently progressing to surgery, demonstrating the substantial growth potential for new therapy solutions.
This unmet clinical need was identified by the co-founders of the company, Dr Brendan Boland, a clinician, and Gerry Clarke, a medical device industry veteran with more than 40 years of medical device experience, while they were Fellows on the BioInnovate Ireland Programme, which is co-funded by Enterprise Ireland.
During this programme, they were based in University College Cork and undertook several hundred hours of clinical monitoring in Cork University hospitals to identify hundreds of requirements, from which the surgical management of thumb base joint arthritis stood out as a particularly significant unmet need with a large affected patient population.
“Securing this seed-round funding will put Loci Orthopaedics firmly on track to achieve the short- and medium-term goals required towards getting this product to market to relieve the daily suffering of many patients,” said Boland, CEO of the company.
Clarke, the CTO, added: “Thumb base arthritis has a huge impact on the quality of life and on the independence of patients as they age. Can you imagine having pain on simple day-to-day tasks such as turning keys in a door, opening a jar or using your phone?
“This is the prospect faced by millions of people who are restricted in their daily activities and enjoyment of life. It is these patients we want to help, by bringing the first evidence-based implant design to market for this common but disabling condition,” Clarke said.