NUI Galway-based Loci Orthopaedics awarded €2.5m grant

13 Aug 2019

Image: Loci Orthopaedics

Loci Orthopaedics, which is developing tech to help people with arthritis, has raised almost €6m in funding to date.

On Monday (12 August), Loci Orthopaedics announced that it was the lead partner in a consortium awarded more than €2.5m in grant funding.

Loci Orthopaedics, which is based in the Innovation Centre at NUI Galway, was given the funding to advance one of its products to market. This product is called the InDx Implant, and received the award as part of the European Commission’s Fast Track to Innovation Fund.

In a statement, the start-up explained: “The InDx Implant product has been designed for the treatment of arthritis of the thumb base joint.

“This condition affects over 30m people across the EU, and results in significant hand pain and restrictions in mobility and independence. In the next three years, the company will focus on launching the InDx Implant in hospitals throughout Europe and the USA.”

Loci Orthopaedics was founded as a spin-out from NUI Galway in 2017. It was set up by Dr Brendan Boland and Gerry Clarke, who aimed to improve the lives of patients suffering from arthritis through the development of novel, evidence-based orthopaedic technologies.

The company closed a €2.75m investment round in 2018. This, along with other financing and the Fast Track to Innovation funding, will bring the total raised by Loci Orthopaedics up to almost €6m.

Loci Orthopaedics CEO Boland said: “The orthopaedics market is one of the fastest-growing segments in medical devices, and the area we are working in is the fastest growing subsection in orthopaedics.

“Being the lead partner on such a prestigious European Commission sponsored grant is a great endorsement for the company of the unmet clinical need, the growing market and the innovativeness of our own technology.”

The implant

Clarke, who is CTO at Loci Orthopaedics, added: “The InDx implant is the only thumb implant that is an evidence-based design.

“We have been working with three of the world’s leading hand surgeons from Stanford University, Brown University and KU Leuven Belgium to develop the first implant that can fully mimic the natural motions of the thumb base joint.

“This grant further supports the core technology of the product, as well as allowing us to accelerate the product to market to relieve the daily suffering of many millions of patients across the world.”

While Loci Orthopaedics has a number of patents pending in the US, it was recently granted a patent for the InDx by the US patent and trademark office.

The company has also reached an agreement with NUI Galway for the worldwide licence to the university-developed OsteoAnchor technology, which is an additively manufactured surface finish for use in orthopaedic implants. OsteoAnchor enables an implant to gain immediate fixation via sharp claws, and long-term fixation as the native bone grows around pillars and struts.

Loci Orthopaedics said: “This technology has been proven to provide enhanced fixation and osteointegration (bone growth around the implant), compared to other surface finished methods such as plasma-spray coating. This is particularly useful in patients who require orthopaedic implants but have poor quality bone, for example, due to osteoporosis.”

The company estimates that the combined market potential for the InDx Implant and OsteoAnchor is over $1.5bn per year.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic